Iowa’s defense in 2020 was better than many expected. A big question mark coming into the year was Iowa’s linebackers. With Djimon Colbert opting out, Dillon Doyle transferring and the roster turnover created by graduation, many Hawkeye fans were left wondering who would see the field.
But as with virtually every season under defensive coordinator Phil Parker, the questions were answered in a hurry as the Iowa linebackers proved a significant strength rather than a weakness.
As we look to the recruiting class of 2021, the questions now are less about who will fill roles and more about how the staff can use all the talent they’re bringing in. That talented linebacking group was started by Iowa native Jaden Harrell, who first committed to the Hawkeyes back in July of 2019.
Today, Harrell is officially an Iowa Hawkeye.
Harrell the Hard Hitter. @jadenhH11 #Swarm21 x #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/P5KzxguCwA— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) December 16, 2020
Harrell, a product of Urbandale, committed to the Hawkeyes over an early offer from Nebraska, and quickly shut things down. As a prep, Harrell did a bit of everything. He ran for 381 yards and 5 touchdowns on offense and served as Urbandale’s punter (so yes, he can punt) while racking up 45.5 tackles, 5.5 TFL, and 2 sacks on defense.
On film, you see an explosive athlete who quickly diagnoses plays and fills running lanes. At 6’2” and 220 pounds, Harrell has the frame to add 20 pounds over the course of the next year and be ready to continue playing that run stopping role at Iowa. But Harrell is also capable in the passing game out in coverage - a trait that will surely be needed at the next level.
Harrell is one of 10 Iowa natives expected to sign with the Hawkeyes in the early signing period. He joins teammate and defensive line commit Max Llewellyn as one of two prospects from Urbandale. He’s also one of four linebackers, along with fellow Iowans Zach Twedt and Karson Sharar, as well as Minnesota native Justice Sullivan.
Welcome aboard, officially, Jaden Harrell!