Wisconsin defensive end Michael Lois is perhaps the most interesting story in Iowa’s recruiting class of 2020. The Elk Horn native may never play a down for the Hawkeyes, but his impact will no doubt be felt.
As a junior at Elk Horn, Lois was a star on the defensive line. He garnered plenty of attention and earned a 3-star ranking from both major recruiting services. He also earned an offer from the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Lois committed in September of last year, making his announcement in style with a hand made sign in front of the Nile Kinnick statue in front of the south entrance to Kinnick Stadium. A few short weeks later, he was feared paralyzed for life.
While at a friend’s house watching an NFL game, Lois and his friends jumped into a pool off a trampoline. Lois missed the floaty in the pool and landed head first on the bottom. He broke three vertebrae and was left without any functionality in his legs.
The last year plus has no doubt been a roller coaster of emotions for Lois and his family. Lois has worked back from that injury to regain full functionality of his legs and has since been cleared for non-contact sports. That prompted him to change his initial plans to sign in the early signing period and enroll early at Iowa.
Instead, the early signing period came and went with Lois and his family still working with the University of Iowa on the best course of action. Lois is still enrolled at Elkhorn High and will participate in baseball this summer, allowing him to play one sport during his senior year.
On Wednesday, with the open of the final signing period for the class of 2020, we were reminded that sometimes, good things happen in this world. Today, Michael Lois is officially a Hawkeye.
As a player, Lois has a lot of upside. He has a great frame for a defensive lineman at 6’4” and north of 260 pounds before his injury. It remains to be seen how he’ll continue to progress through his rehab, but in his limited high school film, Lois flashed a good burst off the edge and often overpowered his opponents.
He’ll almost certainly use his freshman season as a redshirt year to develop and hopefully gain medical clearance to set foot on the football field again. If he does, he could potentially slide inside in a couple seasons. It’s not at all unrealistic to think Lois could put on 35-40 pounds over the next two years and use that same power and quickness to give interior linemen fits.
He could also end up on the edge if he tops out closer to 285-290 and really emphasizes the quickness. Iowa has a long history of ends with an almost identical build. And few players can match the heart and motor Michael Lois plays with.
Wherever he ends up, inside, outside or off the field entirely, Michael Lois is an inspiration and will leave a lasting impact on this program.
Welcome aboard, officially, Micahel Lois!