On Monday, the Hawkeyes saw the early fruits of their labor after hosting their annual summer official visit weekend. As has been the case the last handful of years, the Hawkeyes played host to nearly all previously committed prospects and a slew of their top priorities for the class of 2024 and they did it the same weekend as the city of Iowa City hosted their annual block party, shutting down the downtown district for pedestrians to enjoy all the city has to offer.
It’s become a perfect pairing of the best of Iowa City for the best prospects the Hawkeyes hope to reel in. Arizona defensive end Devan Kennedy was the first of those uncommitted prospects to pull the trigger on a decision, but he was just the tip of the iceberg. On Tuesday, the Hawkeyes landed another big time commitment on the heels of that big visit weekend as top in-state wide receiver Reece Vander Zee announced his commitment to the Iowa.
Vander Zee is a major addition to the class for the Hawkeyes if only because he was a top priority for Matt Campbell and the in-state Cyclones. But as great as it is beating your in-state rival for a top prospect from within the state’s borders, had ISU had no interest at all RVZ would have been a tremendous get.
At 6’5” and 190 pounds, Vander Zee is a physical specimen. He’s got the size to out-muscle smaller defenders and high-point passes. He’s particularly adept at doing so on fade routes and around the goal-line. That’s something Iowa has been looking for in an X since the departure of Brandon Smith.
To go with that big frame, RVZ has solid wheels. As a 1st Team All-State selection in Iowa’s class 2A, the Central Lyon/George-Little Rock product hauled in 32 catches for 768 yards and 10 TDs, often running around, past and sometimes over defenders. His efforts helped propel CL/G-LR to a class 2A state championship.
As for why Iowa, Vander Zee said he loved the family atmosphere and the professional nature of the program. Sounds like a good fit.
“I really just felt like the program was a family,” Vander Zee told HawkeyeReport.com. “Everyone was so welcoming and they are all like best friends and that’s something I want to be a part of. I really like how professional they are at Iowa. How they always do the little things right and pay attention to every detail.”
Of course, part of that family atmosphere might be joining some friends. A year ago, the Hawkeyes landed Central Lyon teammate Zach Lutmer and just a day ago, Vander Zee’s teammate Graham Ebner committed as a preferred walk-on.
“Obviously, it helps that two of my teammates are going to be there with me as well, so that played a little bit of a role in my decision, but I would’ve committed even if those guys weren’t there,”
Vander Zee chose the Hawkeyes over offers from Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan, Air Force, Yale, South Dakota State, UNI, and others. The addition of RVZ takes Iowa’s class of 2024 up to 14 total commitments and moves it up to 29th nationally according to On3 (34th per Rivals and 32nd per 247 Sports). That’s good for 8th in the Big Ten (9th per Rivals and 247 Sports).
With Vander Zee on board, that makes two of Iowa’s ten uncommitted prospects who visited over the weekend to official commit to the Hawkeyes. Iowa is expected to land more than half a dozen of those visitors and potentially all of them. That would mark perhaps the greatest success in a single recruiting weekend in program history.
Welcome aboard Reece Vander Zee!