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NCAA Football: Pinstripe Bowl-Boston College vs Iowa Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Another Iowa football National Signing Day is in the books with the Hawkeyes officially signing five* new players in addition to the 16 inked back in December.

JPinIC summarized the early signing period haul pretty well in the above link, so we’ll just take a look at the five players Iowa signed yesterday here. We’ll have more comprehensive recruiting recaps in the coming days.

*DJ Johnson and Julius Brents signed in December, but didn’t announce until yesterday.

Needs addressed

Coming into February, Iowa’s largest need was at linebacker, with just two (Dillon Doyle & Seth Benson) signing in December. Well, the Iowa football staff met their goal and more by signing Logan Klemp and Jayden McDonald, the former a two-star recruit from Jewell, IA., and the latter a three-star prospect who spurned an offer from Ole Miss and Purdue to come to Iowa City.

McDonald already seems to have the intangibles to be Iowa’s outside linebacker of the future as one might expect out of a recruit from Georgia with SEC offers, while Klemp is another under-the-radar recruit success story in the making. We’ve seen this movie before and we like how it ends.

FURTHERMORE, Iowa may have signed another linebacker masquerading as a defensive back during this period. Last week, Kaevon Merriweather announced his commitment to Iowa, and he signed his NLI today.

If you haven’t heard of Merriweather before, it’s because no one had, at least up until last week. He had no football offers other than Iowa, and an offer from Western Michigan to play basketball. He didn’t have a Rivals or 247 recruiting profile when he announced and his Twitter bio at the time was a link to his basketball highlights.

Iowa’s greatest success this recruiting cycle was in the defensive backfield (more on that in a second) so Merriweather’s commitment didn’t make the most sense. He does come from Michigan, though, and that’s where Phil Parker recruits and he has a pretty good track record when it comes to these kinds of things.

So, when you look at Merriweather’s highlights, Iowa’s need for linebackers, the sheer amount of defensive backs on this roster and the nugget that there’s whispers abound that Iowa has been testing larger defensive backs out at linebacker positions, one can see this guy may have a future outside his high school position.

His Hudl tape exclusively features him coming up for run support. It’s a good thing.

That’s not all to say Merriweather won’t end up in the defensive backfield, but something tells me this kid with a 6-2, 195 lb frame has some options when he gets to Iowa City.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Nico Ragaini, who committed just a month ago. He’s one of three wide receivers from this class and Iowa usually takes all the help it can get at that position.

Ragaini is a little undersized at 6-0 190 lbs, but so were Riley McCarron and Nick Easley, among a million other Iowa players. Ragaini’s only other major offer was Boston College, along like every Ivy League school. He hails from a prep school in Connecticut and Iowa has a pretty good track record of turning east coasters into contributors.

Ragaini caught the eye of Ken O’Keefe early, and even expects to make an impact on special teams early on. O’Keefe probably knows what’s best for his quarterbacks and we like what we see from Ragaini’s tape.


Iowa’s crown jewels of this signing period waited to officially announce their school choices until February so they could participate in signing day festivities with their teammates. DJ Johnson and Julius Brents both hail from Indianapolis but played for different teams. Johnson held offers from Notre Dame and LSU and projects to be perhaps the next great Iowa corner. He’s a three-star prospect (though he was a four-star at one time) and is rated as a top-50 corner in the country per 247.

Brents, meanwhile, likely projects as a safety prospect and has held on to his four-star rating from Rivals. Iowa beat out Michigan State, Purdue and Boston College for Brents, who committed to the Hawkeyes all the way back on Sept. 1. He also has one of the most impressive highlight tapes I’ve seen in awhile.

The era of relying on walk-ons at the safety position could very well be over.

All in all, Rivals ranks this Iowa recruiting class as No. 38 in the country, while 247 has the Hawkeyes’ haul at 39. And that’s usually par the course for this program, anyway. The early signing period so far can be seen has a huge success for Kirk Ferentz and his staff, who seemed to have struck gold with a couple guys this cycle. This class doesn’t feature a blue chipper like last year’s did with AJ Epenesa, but Iowa rarely gets those types of players anyway.

Stay tuned these next couple days as we continue to assess this recruiting class and take an all-too-early look at future classes.

Iowa Football Class of 2018 Commitments

Name Pos Hometown Ht Wt Stars Commitment Date Signing Period
Name Pos Hometown Ht Wt Stars Commitment Date Signing Period
Jeff Jenkins OL Crystal Lake, IL 6'4" 272 3 1/22/2017 Early
Dillon Doyle LB Iowa City, IA 6'3" 215 3 3/20/2017 Early
Henry Geil RB Green Bay, WI 6'0" 211 3 4/23/2017 Early
Tyrone Tracy Jr. ATH Indianapolis, IN 6'0" 187 3 4/29/2017 Early
Tyler Linderbaum DT Solon, IA 6'2" 255 3 5/1/2017 Early
Samson Evans ATH Crystal Lake, IL 6'1" 190 2 5/21/2017 Early
Terry Roberts DB Erie, PA 5'10" 169 3 6/5/2017 Early
Cody Ince OL Balsam Lake, WI 6'5" 260 3 6/19/2017 Early
Jack Plumb TE Green Bay, WI 6'8" 245 3 6/26/2017 Early
Noah Shannon DT Oswego, IL 6'2" 285 3 7/4/2017 Early
DJ Johnson DB Indianapolis, IN 6'0" 170 3 8/22/2017 Late*
Julius Brents DB Indianapolis, IN 6'2" 180 4 9/1/2017 Late*
John Waggoner DE West Des Moines, IA 6'5" 245 4 12/5/2017 Early
Calvin Lockett WR Largo, FL 6'2" 170 3 12/13/2017 Early
Spencer Petras QB Kentfield, CA 6'5" 225 4 12/15/2017 Early
Dallas Craddieth DB Florrisant, MO 6'1" 180 4 12/20/2017 Early
Seth Benson LB Sioux Falls, SD 6'1" 210 2 12/21/2017 Early
Nico Ragaini WR West Haven, CT 6'0" 190 3 1/8/2017 NA
Logan Klemp LB Jewell, IA 6'3" 210 2 2/2/2018 Late
Kaevon Merriweather S Belleville, MI 6'2" 195 2 2/2/2018 Late
Jayden McDonald LB Suwanee, GA 6'1" 210 3 2/5/2018 Late