There has been much consternation among Iowa recruiting circles in recent weeks as the Hawkeyes have struggled mightily in landing some of their top targets following a big official visit weekend at the end of June. Historically, that has been the weekend the Iowa staff has filled a good portion of their class. But this is not a typical year and those prospects were largely making their first or potentially second visit to Iowa City rather than their third, fourth, fifth, etc. trip. While disappointing, the result is somewhat predictable for a program built on relationships.
As much as the Hawkeyes are struggling to fill that class of 2022 after having a year of Zoom meetings in the midst of their prime relationship building, they’ve found some success beyond that class. This past weekend, the Iowa staff hosted another big recruiting weekend but this time focused on the classes of 2023 and 2024 with only a few 2022 prospects on hand.
It didn’t take long for that event to pay dividends as Iowa grabbed a commitment on Monday night from a big time local prospect. Winfield-Mt. Union linebacker Cam Buffington, a 2024 prospect who made his second recruiting visit to campus over the weekend, announced he’s fulfilling his dreams and committing to the Hawkeyes.
Buffington is a talented linebacker prospect with loads of upside. As just a true freshman at Winfield-Mt. Union (for the history buffs among you, that would be the same school as former Hawkeye hoops star Jess Settles) he does not yet have a star rating from either Rivals or 247 Sports, but when one does come a high 3-star rating is likely the floor with a 4-star probable if he continues to develop as expected.
In his first year playing varsity as a freshman, Buffington racked up 50.5 tackles as well as a pick-six on defense. On the other side of the ball, he also totaled 956 yards and 17 touchdowns on 114 carries.
There isn’t a ton of film on Buffington given he’s played just one season at the high school level and WMU plays 8-man football. What you can see on film is a great frame with speed, explosion and athleticism. Buffington is 6’3” and 200 pounds as just a freshman. Should he continue to grow, he could well transition into a defensive end prospect. If he stays south of 6’5”, he looks like a Jack Campbell starter kit.
Did I mention athleticism?
This is going to be a fun one to follow as he progresses. At the 8-man level, he’s bigger, faster and stronger than just about everyone on the field and the game film, when it becomes more readily available, is sure to provide some comic relief.
The Hawkeyes were the first to offer Buffington when he was on campus back in June. The lifelong Iowa fan wasted little time going through the recruiting process. He told HawkeyeReport it was a dream come true.
“It’s just been a dream since I was little to be a Hawkeye. Especially being a in-state kid. There is just no other place I would rather play and I knew that so I just couldn’t wait.”
Given the early commitment and comments such as the one above, it’s possible Buffington’s recruitment never really takes off beyond the Iowa offer. It’s also possible some bigger names come sniffing around given the raw talent.
As it stands, Buffington is the second commit in the class of 2024 for Iowa, joining Winthrop offensive guard Cody Fox. It’s incredibly early, but Hawkeye fans can soak up the sunshine that is currently the #1 ranked 2024 recruiting class in the country according to both Rivals and 247 Sports.
Welcome aboard Cam Buffington!