With spring football firmly in the rearview mirror, the Iowa football coaching staff has turned its attention to the recruiting calendar. That has included continuing to extend offers to members of the class of 2023 and 2024, as well as beginning to line up visits for a couple of big recruiting visit weekends in June.
A staple of Iowa’s recent recruiting strategy has been to load those visit weekends with players who are already committed to the Hawkeyes to help recruit players looking to make their decision. A bit part of that strategy revolves around getting a head start on each class by securing early commitments from talent within the state’s borders.
That’s exactly what the Hawkeyes did on Saturday as they landed a big time commitment from class of 2024 athlete Preston Ries.
A Monticello native, Ries is an athlete is the purest sense of the word. He did a little bit of everything as a sophomore last season, finishing the year with 2,594 yards passing, 1,343 yards rushing and 34 touchdowns on the offensive side of the ball.
But it’s actually on the defensive side of the ball where Ries projects for the Hawkeyes. Playing primarily at linebacker but also spending some time at safety, Ries racked up 68.5 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks as a sophomore.
As you hope with a high-major prospect, Ries was routinely the best athlete on the field. On film, he consistently outruns or powers through defenders when the ball is in his hands on offense while showing good instincts and an ability to run down ball carriers on defense. It’s impressive stuff for a sophomore playing varsity.
The Hawkeyes like Ries at linebacker. Given his frame at 6’2” and 205 pounds already, that’s an intriguing projection. By the time the 2024 prospect comes to Iowa City, he could well be 1-2 inches taller with another 15-20 pounds of muscle, which would put him at near ideal size for the Hawkeyes from day one. Couple that with the athleticism and Ries is a tremendous pickup at this stage.
It’s also why Ries held early offers from Iowa State and Nebraska in addition to the Hawkeyes. He becomes Iowa’s fourth commitment in the class of 2024 with all four coming from within the state’s borders. Ries joins fellow linebackers Cam Buffington (Winfield) and Derek Wieskopf (Williamsburg), as well as 4-star offensive lineman Cody Fox (Wintrhop) in the early goings.
The four-man class ranks 2nd nationally according to 247 Sports and 3rd nationally according to Rivals in 2024. Look for the Hawkeyes to lean on those four commits to continue building momentum not only in the class of 2024, but also 2023 where Iowa is looking to sign an unprecedented fourth straight top-30 class nationally.
Welcome aboard Preston Ries!