It’s been an incredibly wild and unpredictable world in 2020. That continues to be evident by the fact the Iowa Hawkeyes were set to be playing a Big Ten game on Saturday, December 19th under the lights in Kinnick Stadium - three days after the early signing period opens on Wednesday, December 16th. As we now know, the game Saturday is cancelled, but the fact remains a game was scheduled after signing day.
What should not be wild and unpredictable, however, is the actual signing day in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes currently have 17 commits lined up in the class of 2021 and all 17 are expected to sign national letters of intent during the early signing period.
The class, while not completely finished, is shaping up very nicely for the Hawkeyes. Iowa currently ranks 25th nationally according to Rivals and 21st according to 247 Sports. That’s good for 5th in the Big Ten according to each service. That’s also the highest an Iowa recruiting class has been rated since 2005 when the Hawkeyes had a top-10 class nationally.
Note: you can view stories on each of Iowa’s commitments by clicking their name in the above table.
While Iowa has 17 commits already on board, the Hawkeyes are expected to sign closer to 20 total between the early signing period and the final signing period in February. The Hawkeyes have 17 seniors currently on the roster and entered the season with 3 open scholarships. Those have now been spoken for, but Iowa has lost a handful of players to transfer during the season, allowing additional flexibility with scholarships down the stretch.
This cycle is a particularly interesting one as all players currently on the roster are afforded an extra year of eligibility. That is, everyone already on the Iowa sidelines could choose to come back next year if they wanted and the Hawkeyes would need to sort out the scholarship situation. However, head coach Kirk Ferentz has indicated he doesn’t expect many, if any, of Iowa’s seniors to take advantage of the extra year.
It’s also been interesting as commits during this cycle have largely not been on campus. In person communication between players and coaches has been off limits since March due to the pandemic. The staff has been unable to host its big recruiting events or even official visits for players who have never been to campus. That’s left some recruits traveling to Iowa City on their own dime to tour the campus unaccompanied while nearly all are taking virtual tours via Zoom.
That has led to a particularly midwest flavor to Iowa’s class thus far. While the Hawkeyes are still mixing in out of state talents, the state of Iowa produced record numbers of division 1 athletes this cycle and the Hawkeyes capitalized with 10 commits from within the state’s borders already.
Here’s a look at what is expected in terms of positional signings during the early period, which runs from December 16th through December 18th for prep athletes and December 16th through January 15th for JUCO transfers:
In terms of what Iowa is looking to replace, things line up fairly well as the Hawkeyes are set to lose:
Look for Iowa to continue evaluating senior film and extending new offers now that the regular season has come to a close. The Hawkeyes have built a solid process with the early signing period over the last several years where the class is largely filled by the early signing day with just a handful of high priority targets receiving maximum attention ahead of the final signing period.
That final signing period runs from February 3rd through April 1st this year. Beyond that, players may still commit and play for the Hawkeyes outside the signing period. As we saw in 2019, that’s a prime time to land transfers such as Coy Cronk and Jack Heflin. Iowa will likely be in that market again this season.
You can find updates on all Iowa’s signings during the early signing period in the below stream. We’ll also be handing out grades, recapping remaining needs and exploring names to fill those needs in the coming days and weeks.