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Iowa Football Recruiting: #Swarm2019 Defensive Line Targets

A solid defensive line is a staple of a strong Iowa football team under Kirk Ferentz. We explore the top prospects to build that solid line of the future.

NCAA Football: Wyoming at Iowa
A strong defensive line has been a staple of successful Kirk Ferentz teams
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Defensive Line

While the offense is what tends to get fans excited, the defense, as they say, is what wins championships. At Iowa under Coach Ferentz, the defense has been the glue the holds it all together. Nearly every Hawkeye team worth mentioning during Ferentz’s tenure has had a solid defense. That all starts up front with the defensive line.

As we look beyond this upcoming season, we see a need to add some depth at along the line. Seniors Matt Nelson, Parker Hesse and Sam Brincks will all be departing. There’s also early talk that Anthony Nelson could enter the NFL Draft. While the cupboard wouldn’t be bare, those departures would present some opportunities for youth to see the field in 2019, which is why the Hawkeyes are likely to add 2-3 defensive linemen in this recruiting cycle.

As it stands right now, the Iowa has a lone DL commit in defensive end Jake Karchinski out of Wisconsin. While he’s currently a defensive end, it’s possible we see Karchinski slide inside following the Matt Nelson plan.

With Karchinski already in tow, look for the Hawkeyes to try to add 1-2 more defensive linemen in 2019. Here’s a look at some of the top priorities.

Jalen Hunt, DE

Hometown: Belleville, MI (Belleville)
Height: 6’2”
Weight: 245
Stars: 3

Jalen Hunt is a name that’s been on the Iowa recruiting radar for a bit now. He’s on the smaller side for a defensive end, but has the frame to become more traditional size. What he likes in sheer size he more than makes up for with athleticism.

Hunt lines up all over the field for Belleville, playing both inside and outside on the defensive line and even getting some work at running back. The speed and quickness he shows in his first highlight clip should have Hawkeye fans excited about the possibility of him coming off the edge as a pass rusher.

Hunt is considered a 3-star prospect by the recruiting services and lists offers from more than a dozen schools. Those include Boston College, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Minnesota, Mizzou and Pitt. Though Hunt seems to be focused on a short list of Michigan State, Mizzou and Iowa.

Hunt has taken official visits the last two weekends to Mizzou and MSU (in that order). He’ll be in Iowa City this weekend as an official visitor as well. That could be good news for the Hawkeyes and Hunt reportedly loved his previous unofficial visit to Iowa City and may have considered a commitment had his mother been able to make the trip. She’ll be with him this weekend.

Mosai Newsome, DE

Hometown: Waverly, IA (Waverly-Shell Rock)
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 260
Stars: 3

Mosai Newsome is another name Iowa fans should have heard by now. Newsome is a Waverly native prepping for Waverly-Shell Rock. He’s got a bit more size at this stage than a guy like Hunt and is still quite athletic.

With his combination of power and speed, Newsome plays both inside and outside at the high school level and potentially do the same in college. However, given his quickness on the edge he’s likely to stay at defensive end.

Newsome is a consensus 3-star prospect who lists six offers currently. Those include Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, South Dakota and Yale in addition to the Hawkeyes.

As a local product, Newsome has been on campus plenty. Expect Iowa to make a solid push to keep him home, but there will be some competition from our Big Ten brethren.

Tomari Fox, DE

Hometown: Suwanee, GA (Collins Hill)
Height: 6’3”
Weight: 250
Stars: 3

Tomari Fox fits the trend you may have noticed by now, in that he has solid but not overwhelming size to go with plus athleticism. What separates the Georgia native from the first two prospects listed is his ability to eat up blockers, shed them and make a play.

Lining up primarily at defensive end, Fox shows perhaps the best ability in the run game of any of the prospects listed here. That doesn’t take away from his ability as a pass rusher, which is also quite good.

Like Hunt and Newsome, Fox is a 3-star prospect. He boasts an extensive offer list with 19 in total. That includes Georgia Tech, Iowa State, Maryland, Ole Miss, UNC, Syracuse and West Virginia.

Fox hails from Suwanee, Georgia, where Iowa has had some recent success. The Hawkeyes pulled LB Jaydon McDonald from Suwanee’s North Gwinnett a season ago and are in the running for his former teammate RB Tyler Goodson who will announce on July 3rd. Along with Hunt, Fox will be making an official visit to Iowa City this weekend.

Malcolm Lee, DE

Hometown: Omaha, NE (Iowa Western CC)
Height: 6’5”
Weight: 265
Stars: 3

Malcolm Lee is a bit of an outlier on this list. He’s not a prep prospect like the others mentioned. Instead, the Omaha native is entering his second season at Iowa Western in Council Bluffs. Hawkeye fans know by now the staff’s efforts to build a bit of a connection with IWCC, which is a national power on the JUCO level, having recently pulled in guys like Nick Easley and Mekhi Sargent, in addition to a handful of other walk-ons.

As you might expect for a guy who’s already at the college level, Lee has better size than any of the above at 6’5” and 265 pounds. He’s got good quickness off the edge to go with that size. As a freshman for IWCC, Lee tallied 43 tackles and 5 sacks.

As a 3-star, Lee is up to 8 offers. Those include FAU, Houston, Iowa State, Louisville, Ohio, Southern Miss and UCF. Expect that list to grow as Lee progresses in his sophomore season and college programs look to fill holes with immediate contributors.

Another name for Iowa fans to monitor is Enoch Jackson. He’s a 3-star prospect from Mansfield, Texas who’s been linked to the Hawkeyes a bit. Don’t let the 3-star rating fool you, Jackson is a player and his offer list reflects that. He boasts offers from a slew of big time programs, including Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss and OK State. Jackson is a defensive tackle standing 6’ and 280 pounds. He would be a tremendous get, but obviously the competition will be stiff.

Look for some movement on the defensive line front in the next week or so. With a pair of the above guys visiting this weekend, we could see commitments or new offers if the staff feels they need to expand their search. The focus is likely to be at DE given there are slated to be 5 returners at the position next season vs. 7 at DT. As always, we’ll keep you updated as things change.