Recruiting in a world without on campus visits or coaches on the trail is uncharted territory. Never before have coaches had to attract the talent they want, and evaluate it, without face-to-face contact. For the Iowa Hawkeyes, that’s particularly difficult given the program’s emphasis on building relationships and finding prospects who are good fits with the team’s identity.
Despite that, the staff has remained active via phone calls, text messages and even virtual tours of the facilities in Iowa City. Iowa running backs coach Derrick Foster has been one of those staffers active in keeping in contact with prospects in his recruiting area. That includes a trio of teammates from Tampa Gaither.
Running back Ricky Parks and cornerback Jordan Young (who transferred from Tampa Jesuit, where he teamed up with current Iowa safety Dane Belton) have been on the Iowa radar for some time and visited Iowa City last summer. Their teammate Jordan Oladokun, however, didn’t make the trip. He was set to visit campus on June 19th along with Parks.
With the uncertainty around the coronavirus situation, that visit looked to be in jeopardy. So despite an originally planned commitment date of July 29, the Hawkeyes received some great news a few months early as Oladokun committed to Iowa today without having a chance to visit campus.
Oladokun is a dynamic athlete who played both ways for Gaither as a junior. He shows a great ability to diagnose plays and tremendous closing speed when the ball is thrown his direction. As a sophomore, he recorded 8 interceptions. That number fell as a junior as teams stopped throwing his direction, though he did record 20 tackles out of the secondary.
While opponents didn’t look his way, his QB did. Oladokun added 532 receiving yards and 6 TDs on offense, as well as a return touchdown as a junior. The future Hawkeye jumps off the screen with the ball in his hands,running around and past would-be tacklers. Those same skills are on display once he’s intercepted a pass.
Oladokun chose Iowa over a slew of other offers. His top 7, announced in March, included Iowa, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati, but he also had offers from Iowa State, Kansas, Wake Forest, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Louisville, Indiana, Syracuse, South Florida, Marshall, Florida International, Western Kentucky, Temple, Southern Miss, Bowling Green, Howard, Tennessee State, and Georgia State.
The question now will be whether the Gaither product can turn into a recruiter with Coach Foster and the Belton family. Adding either of Parks or young to go with their teammate would be a major coup for the Hawkeyes as they look to build a pipeline from Tampa to Iowa City.
With Oladokun on board, Iowa is now up to 9 commitments in the class of 2021. He becomes the second defensive back in the class, joining Ida Grove native Cooper DeJean, and the 7th commitment on the defensive side of the ball.
The Hawkeyes still have a big official visit weekend planned for June 19th. The visitor list will include a number of current commits, as well as the aforementioned Parks. That’s all pending a change in status of the global pandemic.
Welcome aboard Jordan Oladokun!