While Hawkeye fans are enjoying their Thanksgiving Day with friends and family, food and a dose of football, the Iowa coaching staff are spending their holiday preparing for the final regular season game against Nebraska. The Hawkeyes, of course, are set to take on the Cornhuskers inside Kinnick Stadium on Black Friday once again, this time looking for an eighth straight win over their rivals to the west and a Big Ten West division title in the process.
But that preparation, and likely their own semblance of holiday celebration, was interrupted on Thursday morning as the Hawkeyes received some good news on the recruiting trail. Iowa received something to be thankful for from Kansas City wide receiver Dayton Howard, as he announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes on Thanksgiving morning.
After several great conversations with @CopelandKelton and a great visit I’m so thankful and blessed to continue my academic and athletic career at the university of IOWA #committed @CoachAndySims @PHTrojansFB @abellboys @TylerBarnesIOWA @AllenTrieu @BlairRIVALS pic.twitter.com/IKcYzuaZXB— Dayton Howard (@DaytonHoward4) November 24, 2022
Howard’s commitment comes just under two weeks since Iowa received their last commitment, also from a big-bodied wide receiver. The Kansas City product, however, is even bigger than Jarriett Buie Jr., who committed to the Hawkeyes back on November 12th. Buie, a Florida native, measured in at 6’2” while Howard is taller at 6’5”.
On film, he’s a bit of a different player than Buie. His route tree appears a bit less robust showing more of those vertically routes running past defenses or making catches over the top of smaller defenders. That fits more traditionally with big receivers who can out athlete and out physical most prep level defenders.
While Howard doesn’t display elite level speed, he more than makes up for it with his size - something the Iowa staff is clearly looking for as they move toward a future state of the Hawkeye offense. Currently, only Jacob Bostick and Brody Brecht measure taller than 6’1” on the roster with Brecht the only receiver over 6’2”. Now the staff has landed two more in less than two weeks.
As a senior at Kansas City’s Park Hill, Howard used his solid speed, great hands and A+ frame to haul in 45 passes for 760 yards and 13 touchdowns, averaging almost 17 yards per reception. Howard was an under the radar prospect who jumped onto the scene late. That was due in large part to a lack of camp visits and spending his prior season at a smaller school (Savannah) with less publicity.
That led to no offers until the Hawkeyes jumped into the mix a few weeks ago, offering the same day Buie committed to Iowa.
Speaking to HawkeyeReport, Howard said when Iowa learned about him, they made him a priority while other schools, including Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Colorado State played things slower, and that made a difference.
What made me choose Iowa is that they went all in on me the first week they found out about me, which really means something. The culture there is unmatched and it seems like a perfect fit for me.
I only got one offer, but that’s all I need. One opportunity to prove myself.
The addition of Howard takes the Hawkeyes back to 20 total commitments in the class of 2023 after Des Moines defensive lineman David Caulker flipped to Iowa State last week. He joins the aforementioned Jarriett Buie Jr. and Marion native Alex Mota as wide receivers in this class. His addition jumps Iowa up to 23rd nationally according to Rivals and 25th per 247 Sports.
Given his size and Iowa’s history, Hawkeye fans are sure to take the opportunity to project him as a tight end. Howard did little to quell that speculation.
They just told me they need me and can use me. I’ll play anywhere to help the team win.
Welcome aboard Dayton Howard!