It’s safe to say the Iowa Hawkeyes have built some momentum on the recruiting trail. After hosting roughly two dozen of the program’s top prospects just over a week ago, the Iowa staff has landed several commitments, including one from the highest rated recruit in program - and state - history as 5-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor committed to the Hawkeyes last Thursday.
Now, Iowa keeps the fireworks going with an Independence Day commitment from St. Louis tight end Zach Ortwerth.
Ortwerth is a prototypical in-line tight end prospect who looks ready made to step on campus in Iowa City and compete. A big part of that, aside from the excellent frame at 6’5” and 220 pounds, is Ortwerth’s prowess as a blocker.
On film, he shows an ability to hunt down defenders in space or get solid leverage with a strong punch off the line and good drive through his legs to finish beyond the whistle. That’s the type of stuff that translates to the next level and has earned players a role again and again under Kirk Ferentz.
In the passing game, Ortwerth finished with 299 yards and five touchdowns on 20 catches as a junior. That’s good for just shy of 15 yards per reception. Looking at his playing style, that average per reception appears to be a good proxy for the types of routes Hawkeye fans might expect out of Ortwerth in Iowa City. He as solid speed and athleticism, but really excels where he can use his big body to either go up and get jump balls over defenders or protect against tacklers over the middle.
Those abilities earned Ortwerth a 3-star rating from both Rivals and 247 Sports, as well as offers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Nebraska, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Pitt, Louisville, West Virginia, Memphis, Connecticut and others.
With Ortwerth now on board, the Hawkeyes are up to 15 total commitments in the class of 2023. He’s the first tight end and the only commitment to hail from Missouri to-date. The addition moves the Hawkeyes’ class to 15th nationally according to 247 Sports and 16th per Rivals. He becomes Iowa’s third public commitment coming out of the big official visit weekend. The Hawkeyes will look to Lee the momentum rolling in the coming weeks as more decisions are made.
Welcome aboard, Zach Ortwerth!