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Iowa Football Recruiting: #Swarm2019 Running Back Targets

The Hawkeyes are breaking in a pair of new RBs in 2018. Who are they targeting for the future beyond this season?

Purdue v Iowa
Ivory Kelly-Martin found his way onto the field despite a crowded depth chart. Who will be in a similar position in the class of 2019?
Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

As things being to heat up on the recruiting trail for Iowa’s class of 2019, we’re taking a look at each position group to identify the top targets at each position. We began our journey with quarterbacks and today we continue with a look at running backs.

As a reminder, here’s how things stand currently for the class:

Iowa Football Class of 2019 Commitments

Name Pos Hometown Ht Wt Stars Commitment Date
Name Pos Hometown Ht Wt Stars Commitment Date
Tyler Endres OL Norwalk, IA 6'6" 280 3 6/24/17
Logan Lee TE Orion, IL 6'5" 225 3 6/24/17
Ezra Miller OL Holstein, IA 6'6" 280 3 4/22/17
Noah Fenske OL New Hampton, IA 6'5" 280 3 3/2/18
Jack Campbell LB Cedar Falls, IA 6'4" 210 3 3/31/18
Sebastian Castro DB Oak Lawn, IL 6'1" 198 3 4/25/18
Desmond Hutson WR Raytown, MO 6'4" 195 3 5/8/18
Jestin Jacobs LB Clayton, OH 6'4" 205 3 5/11/18
Jake Karchinski DE De Pere, WI 6'5" 245 3 5/18/18
Alex Padilla QB Greenwood Village, CO 6'2" 195 3 6/14/18
Jalen Hunt DE Belleville, MI 6'2" 245 3 6/23/18
Dane Belton DB Tampa, FL 6'1" 185 3 6/24/18
Justin Britt OL Indianapolis, IN 6'4" 282 3 6/24/18
Tyler Goodson RB Suwanee, GA 5'10" 192 3 7/3/18

With those members already in the fold, here’s a quick look at how we should expect things to shake out from a positional standpoint in the entire class.

*Note that the two remaining openings to get to a class of 20 would be for best available at any position.

Running Back

Like quarterback, running back is a position where you should expect the staff to look at adding at least one commit in every class. That can be easier said than done when the depth chart is full, but as Iowa fans have seen far too many times, depth can be depleted in a hurry.

In 2019, there isn’t much depth to begin with. The running back room currently is home to a pair of sophomores-to-be in Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin. Both are very talented and should be a solid 1-2 punch for the Hawkeyes for a couple seasons. Behind them, however, there’s only a RS freshman in Kyshaun Bryan and a RS freshman who has never played RB before in Camron Harrell.

There are a pair of incoming freshmen in Henry Geil of Wisconsin and converted QB Samson Evans from Illinois, but that still leaves the door open for some early playing time. As a result, the staff is likely to take more than one back in the class of 2019. Here are a handful of their top targets.

Jirehl Brock, RB

Hometown: Quincy, IL (Quincy)
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 200
Stars: 4

Brock has been priority #1 for the Iowa staff for some time. He’s relatively local (Quincy is actually closer to Iowa City than Champaign) and he’s incredibly talented. For the longest time he remained the only offer to a 2019 RB recruit. Why? The staff feels pretty good about landing this 4-star.

Brock was on campus for Iowa’s junior day last spring - the same junior day that yielded the commitments of Logan Lee and Tyler Endres. But more importantly, Lee reportedly asked the recruiting services if Brock had committed as he expected during that tailgater.

Of course Brock did not, but the Hawkeyes have since been thought to be on top. While that’s not confirmed, they did make the top 5 released by Brock last week, which includes Iowa State, Minnesota, Northwestern and Purdue. He also holds offers from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri and others.

The highlight reel is pretty ridiculous.

Tyler Goodson, RB

Hometown: Suwanee, GA (North Gwinnett)
Height: 5’10”
Weight: 192
Stars: 3

While Brock has been the top target from the early goings, the staff would certainly like to take two backs in the class. And if you’re going to do that, it would be nice if they complimented each other. Tyler Goodson helps there.

Brock, while not a pure power back, certainly has more power to his game than Goodson, who is much more of a scatback. He has tremendous wiggle and while I would never go so far as to say a high school kid will be as good as one of the most exciting players I’ve watched, he certainly does remind me of Akrum Wadley.

Goodson has really good burst and shows some solid vision, attributes that helped him rush for nearly 1,800 yards as a junior. Most exciting is the elusiveness he brings - something Iowa fans will miss with the departure of Wadley. Check the clip at 1:28 for some flashbacks to the Wadley era.

Goodson’s an interesting story as he hails from the same high school as class of 2018 LB commit Jayden McDonald. Iowa has made a major push to get into the south (Georgia specifically) and with the addition of Derrick Foster as RB coach they might have the right mix to land a guy like Goodson.

Aside from the Iowa offer, Goodson will be deciding between offers from 32 schools in total. That includes the likes of BC, Cincinnati, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kentucky, Michigan State and Nebraska. Goodson made it up to Iowa City for his first official visit (and Iowa’s first official visit of the year) on April 20th and that seems to have left a solid impression.

He cut his list to 8 schools over the weekend, including the Hawkeyes, West Virginia Kentucky, Michigan State, Nebraska, Wake Forest, Washington State and Iowa State. He also seemed to indicate a trio of those schools may be ahead of the rest. While he didn’t name names, it’s thought Iowa and West Virginia are near the top.

Jacardia Wright, ATH

Hometown: Decatur, IL (St. Theresa)
Height: 6’0”
Weight: 205
Stars: 3

Beyond Brock and Goodson, there are a number of really good options the Hawkeyes are in on. However, some of them seem less likely than others to end up in Iowa City.

One prospect who seems to be a decent bet is Jacardia Wright. He’s listed as a 3-star on both Rivals and 247, but the two sites differ on his position. Rivals lists him as an athlete while 247 categorizes him as a safety prospect. Iowa appears to be recruiting him as a RB.

We know the Hawkeyes like players with positional flexibility and while they have limited room in this class for defensive backs, this is an opportunity to get the best available athlete on the bus and find him a position once he’s on campus. While 247 seems to think that may be safety, the film makes a solid case for RB.

Wright doesn’t have quite the same burst or wiggle as Goodson, nor the pure vision and running ability of Brock, but he has something. He shows really good balance and escapability, refusing to go down and powering through arm tackles. He also shows pretty good top-end speed, running away from defenders in the open field. He’s a tremendous athlete that plays everywhere for St. Theresa (including as a return man) and would be a very solid addition to the class.

Wright currently holds offers from Michigan State, Central Michigan, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois in addition to his Iowa offer. He also has interest from Illinois, Indiana and others. He’s certainly a name to keep an eye on.

Some of the other names to monitor include Isaiah Azubuike of St. Louis, who seems a bit similar to Wright. He’s listed as an athlete and his film shows him all over the field. He’s a bit on the smaller side (listed at 5’11” but likely smaller than that and 195), but shows some power running ability as well. He seems to be pretty high on Iowa and St. Louis is another area the Hawkeyes have been trying to get back into recently.

Breece Hall of Wichita, KS is a bit bigger at 6’1” and 200 lbs and his ranking doesn’t seem to align with his offer list. Despite being a 2-star on Rivals, he lists offers from Louisville, Michigan, Nebraska, Tennessee, Ole Miss and several others. His film looks good but the chances of him ending up in Iowa City don’t seem high.

Nathaniel Peat of Columbia, MO is another smaller back who’s got an Iowa offer. He’s shifty and quick, but hailing from CoMo with a Missouri offer doesn’t bode well for Iowa.

The Hawkeyes have also made a push into the deep south with new RB coach Derrick Foster’s roots. They’ve offered Larry McCammon of Hoover, AL and AJ Finley of Mobile, AL. That’s in addition to Goodson mentioned above and fellow Georgian Tahj Gary of College Park. We’ll see if Foster can make some progress in those parts.

We should begin to get a more clear picture of the future running back room as we get into late June. Brock is slated to finish all his officials at that time (Iowa is last) and Goodson is looking to focus on his leaders going into the summer. As those dominoes begin to fall, things should start to align. As always, we’ll keep you updated.