When it comes to Iowa recruiting philosophy, the Hawkeyes are known for finding diamonds in the rough. The Iowa staff has a reputation for finding under recruited players and developing them into stars.
While that has been a largely successful strategy, one position they no longer need to employ it is at tight end. Iowa’s reputation on the recruiting trail with tight end prospects is at a different level than really any other position group. That has led to a nice uptick in talent level the staff has been able to tap into before they look for under the radar type guys they can develop.
One such player is 2020 commit Elijah Yelverton. The Cedar Hill, Texas (Dallas area) native comes to Iowa with plenty of cache. Despite being rated just a 3-star prospect by both Rivals and 247 Sports, Yelverton boasted 36 total offers from a virtual who’s who of college football programs.
Despite all the attention, today he is officially a Hawkeye.
Yelverton, who played his senior season at Tinity Christian under offensive coordinator Deion Sanders, comes to Iowa City with prototypical size. As a high school senior, he was listed at 6’5” and 235 pounds. Former Hawkeye T.J. Hockenson is currently listed at 6’5” and 247 pounds for the Detroit Lions.
While Yelverton may not be the next Hockenson, he has the frame, the hands and the athleticism to make an impact at Iowa. He finished up his senior year at Trinity Christian with 593 yards and 9 TDs on 63 catches (9.4 ypc) and defeated future QB Deuce Hogan en route to a state championship.
On film, you pretty quickly see why Yelverton racked up the offers, which included Auburn, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Oregon, Penn State and a couple dozen other programs. He lines up all over the field - both in line and split out wide. He was used primarily as the guy to move the sticks and shows great hands. But he also has the athleticism to create mismatches in space against linebackers and safeties and he has the power to run over smaller defensive backs when he has the ball in his hand. He’s a willing blocker and has all the physical attributes to be an all-purpose tight end at the next level.
Welcome aboard, officially, Elijah Yelverton!