The Iowa Hawkeyes have been rolling through the month of September. Iowa is riding a 10-game winning streak that dates back to week three of the 2020 season and are enjoying their third consecutive week in the AP top-5.
That type of success on the field is likely to aid the Iowa coaching staff as they hit the recruiting trail. In an effort to capitalize on that momentum, the Hawkeyes have hosted a slew of visitors at each of Iowa’s three home games this season.
Last weekend was no different as Iowa played host to more than 20 prospects in the classes of 2022, 2023 and beyond. One such visitor was Indiana tight end Cael Vanderbush. A relatively new name on the Hawkeye board, his visit came with limited attention ahead of time. That changed on Saturday as the Iowa staff had seen enough to make an offer.
Vanderbush told HawkeyeReport he was incredibly excited to receive the offer.
I found out in the car as I was leaving and I was very excited. I really like Iowa and the opportunity to play there with the great atmosphere and traditions they have at Kinnick.
He was excited enough to de-commit from Western Michigan on Sunday. While he tried to play things close to the vest, telling HawkeyeReport he hadn’t made any decisions yet, he was quick to pull the trigger as he officially announced his commitment to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Monday evening.
Blessed and excited to announce my commitment to the University of Iowa. Go hawks pic.twitter.com/h3gygk00Lg— Cael Vanderbush (@CaelVanderbush) September 28, 2021
Venderbush is an intriguing prospect. At 6’6” and 200 pounds, he has a great frame for the tight end position, but he’s demonstrated enough speed and athleticism through the first five games of his senior season to convince at least one site that he could end up playing receiver at the next level.
That’s not likely to be the case at Iowa, which recruited him at tight end, but Hawkeye fans should be excited about what they see on film with the Plainfield, Indiana native. He has plus speed for the TE position (which you can really see as he pulls away from much smaller defensive backs on film), as you might guess for a player who was believed capable of playing WR at the D1 level, and his catch radius is enormous. He is also a willing and capable blocker, as evidenced by some punishing finishes against inferior defenders.
Reverse jam by Cael Vanderbush pic.twitter.com/eHWN7QOjQI— Indy Heat - Gym Rats (@indyheatgymrats) April 30, 2021
Through five games as a senior at Plainfield High, Vanderbush has 509 yards and four touchdowns on 21 receptions (24.2 ypc). That comes on the heels of a junior season that saw him put up 743 yards and 6 TDs on 44 catches (16.9 ypc).
While his recruitment started relatively slow with offers from Air Force and Western Michigan, the early showing this year has garnered new interest from power five suitors. That included an offer from Utah last week, as well as the Hawkeyes over the weekend.
With the addition of Vanderbush, Iowa’s class of 2022 now sits at ten total commitments. Cael joins Wisconsin native Addison Ostrenga as Iowa’s second tight end commitment in the class. The Hawkeyes are likely done at the position, but could potentially look at a third tight end given they took none in last year’s class.
Vanderbush is Iowa’s eighth commit from outside the state’s borders. The Hawkeyes are expected to take around 15 total commits in the class, but that number could grow or shrink depending on decisions about extra years due to COVID-19 following the season.
Welcome aboard Cael Vanderbush!