The Iowa Hawkeyes got a slow start to the recruiting class of 2022. That is to be expected for a school in an unpopulous state such as Iowa with limitations on travel and prospect visits. But things have been heating up for the Hawkeyes since the NCAA lifted its ban on campus visits at the outset of June.
Since that time, Iowa has landed four verbal commitments, including three in the class of 2022. That was before hosting their once annual big official visit weekend at the end of June.
That big visit weekend in 2021 came this past weekend when the Hawkeyes hosted 14 prospects from the class of ‘22 and a handful of other unofficial visitors on campus. Now, just a day after the weekend came to a close, the Hawkeyes are seeing their first benefits in the way of a commitment as South Carolina kicker Drew Stevens announced his decision on Monday.
It's Great to be a Hawkeye! Go Hawks!!!! pic.twitter.com/42iKQsIKCK— Drew Stevens (@DrewTS7) June 28, 2021
Stevens is committing to the Hawkeyes as a preferred walk-on, meaning he doesn’t have a scholarship at the moment, but will be a priority to receive one should they open up. that’s been the typical path for Iowa kickers, including the departed Keith Duncan.
Speaking with HawkeyeReport, Stevens said that would come as soon as he wins the starting job.
Iowa only offers freshmen kickers preferred walk-on opportunities. If I win the job after spring practice going into fall camp I could move on to scholarship, basically taking over Caleb Shudak but nothing is guaranteed.
Notably, Stevens mentions potentially winning the starting gig as early as next spring. That’s because special teams coordinator LeVar Woods noted the potential benefits of enrolling early to earn the starting gig.
Coach Woods also gave me the option to enroll early in January to go through spring semester and practice as a preferred walk-on and get seven months of lifting and training before fall camp starts to give me every advantage possible, but he is not pressuring me to enroll early if I want to finish out high school. He was so great to me all weekend.
How likely is that? It won’t be easy. The Hawkeyes already have a trio of kickers slated to return in 2022. That includes sophomore (currently) Lucas Amaya and redshirt freshman Aaron Blom. Stevens will have to compete with those two for the gig.
But according to Kohl’s Kicking Academy, Stevens has the talent. Kohl’s rates him as a 5-star kicker and the #25 kicker in the nation for the class. Here’s what they had to say in their evaluation following his most recent camp performance.
Stevens recently attended the 2021 UC Challenge and a Spring Showcase. He scored an impressive score of 109 on KO’s at the Showcase Event. In July of 2020 Stevens had a KO score of 97.98. His leg has gotten noticeably stronger since last summer. He has made a nice jump athletically and was able to score 13 points on his field goals in May of 2021. Stevens has good natural talent and with continued refinement, he will be ready to compete at the next level!
Stevens chose the Hawkeyes over similar opportunities at South Carolina and North Carolina State, his other finalist. Ultimately, it came down to fit, but the Hawkeyes have had several advantages along the way.
For starters, Stevens trains with kicking coach Dan Orner who also trained the aforementioned Keith Duncan. Beyond that, Stevens’ mother is originally from the Hawkeye state. And at the end of the day, Stevens told HawkeyeReport it really wasn’t a terribly tough decision.
It’s a dream school for me. It’s 1,000 miles from home, but I grew up watching the Hawkeyes with my family... It just felt like the best fit. I wanted to play for a program that wins, works hard, has a legendary coach, and plays in a Power 5 conference.
Music to Hawkeye fans’ ears.
With the addition of Stevens, the Hawkeyes now have five commitments in the month of June, including four among members of the class of 2022. That class stands at five total members who will join on scholarship initially. Iowa will look to build on the current momentum and add to that total in the coming days and weeks.
Welcome aboard Drew Stevens!