When you’re looking to build depth in the new world of NIL and the transfer portal, coaching staffs around the country find themselves balancing between infusions of immediate talent and adding developmental players. The Hawkeyes seem to have done that in the class of 2023 and more specifically along the offensive line.
While Leighton Jones and Trevor Lauck appear to be more likely early contributors with more traditional builds as high school prospects, Cannon Leonard and Kade Pieper profile as high upside projects that will require time to develop in the program. That’s a perfect compliment in today’s game and former North Dakota State commit Kade Pieper was perfectly happy to step into that developmental opportunity when offered.
Today, Pieper made it official as he signed his national letter of intent to play football at the University of Iowa.
Pieper is an intriguing prospect at 6’4” and 240 pounds as a senior at Norfolk Catholic in Nebraska. He plays both ways lining up primary at defensive and offensive line as a prep and that time on the defensive line shines through on the film.
On both sides of the ball, Pieper oozes physicality, athleticism and toughness. He moves well for his size, but most importantly he shows the patented mean streak we’ve seen in every offensive line commit this class. He will clearly need to fill out and given he was previously a tight end, he has an opportunity to improve on his technique, hand placement, etc., but Pieper has the frame, athleticism and mindset to be a future contributor on the interior of Iowa’s offensive line.
The Hawkeyes are set to sign four offensive linemen in the class of 2023. As noted, Trevor Lauck projects as a prototypical offensive tackle while Leighton Jones is primed to be a future center. Pieper is likely a future guard, but like Cannon Leonard will need more time to develop. The Hawkeyes are set to return 13 scholarship linemen in 2023, assuming senior Justin Britt is able to continue his career. That means there’s ample time for Pieper to learn, develop and add bulk before potentially being a contributor in 2025 and beyond.
Welcome aboard, officially, Kade Pieper!