Iowa football is as good as its offensive and defensive lines are, plain and simple. In 2022, the defensive line was stellar, but the offense struggled. Looking toward the future, the Iowa staff worked to build meaningful depth on the offensive line with the recruiting class of 2023.
A big piece of that was Indiana native Leighton Jones. A converted tight end/defensive end, Jones is an athletic offensive lineman with a mean streak that follows in the blueprint the Hawkeyes have fallen in love with since the success story found in former All-American Tyler Linderbaum.
Today, Jones made it official as he signed his national letter of intent to play football at the University of Iowa.
As noted, Jones is a former skill player with a high motor and that coveted mean streak Iowa loves out of their linemen. But since committing to play on the line, the Brownsburg product has bulked up to 275 pounds as a senior, meaning he’s heading to Iowa City likely only a year of development away from being capable of contributing physically.
Of course, the Hawkeyes have a Jones of their own at center already who has two years of eligibility remaining. That two years could be a perfect timeframe from Leighton to add roughly 15 pounds of bulk while also refining his technique and learning the scheme. As a prep, he already shows great punch and loads of athleticism for the position, but as a convert he will continue to develop at Iowa and could prove a prime candidate to be the next great center for the Hawkeyes.
After the decommitment of 5-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor earlier in the week, the Hawkeyes are expected to sign four offensive linemen in the class of 2023. Jones is the only projected center in the group. The Hawkeyes also have Michael Myslinski on the roster with three years of eligibility remaining at the position.
Welcome aboard, officially, Leighton Jones!