We title posts about recruiting "Caring Is Creepy" for a reason: It's a better-than-average song by The Shins. But there is also a second reason: Not only is recruiting news centered around the innermost thoughts and feelings of high school kids, but it includes a heavy dose of high school kids interacting with almost-as-immature college football coaches. The coaches are involved in the sale, to be sure, but they also play a part in sealing the deal, and since kids now largely commit before their senior year even starts, that means a lot of sealing.
Take, for instance, Trevon Young, who was given a scholarship offer from Iowa as a defensive end project for the Class of 2013. Young, who is a Des Moines native, jumped at the offer and looked set for Iowa City. That is, until he had two separate run-ins with police in a seven-month span. Ferentz rightly yanked the scholarship offer and guided Young toward Iowa Western Community College, a de facto finishing school for Division I talent anymore. Young had a standout season at IWCC and kept his nose clean, so Iowa again offered. One year that would have been spent redshirting was no serious loss, anyway. Except that now, Iowa had company, and Young opted to join Louisville instead. Two missteps by the kid, one entirely justified coaching decision, and a much-needed defensive end is headed to Kentucky. That's why recruiting news is kind of stupid. That's why Caring Is Creepy.
Which brings us to Tyler Wiegers, or, How Iowa was to Rutgers what Louisville was to Iowa. Wiegers, a 6'3, 190-lb. quarterback out of Detroit Country Day School, was a borderline four-star prospect who became the centerpiece of Rutgers coach Kyle Flood's stellar 2014 recruiting class when he committed in April. As the season opened, the Scarlet Knights had the conference's third-best recruiting class. Not their current conference, the AAC, but their new conference next season, the Big Ten.
Rutgers had a bad year, though. Not only was the team a bit of a mess on the field (needing an improbable last-week win to make a bowl game), but the Scarlet Knights dealt once again with allegations of player mistreatment. Suddenly, a recruiting class that had been a beacon of hope in the flood (sorry, had to) of bad press began to dim. Three of Rutgers' top five commits decommitted in a matter of days. One of those three, four-star wideout Adonis Jennings, had his offer revoked under a new rule instituted by Flood: If a committed player took an official visit anywhere else, the offer would be rescinded.
Still standing after the carnage was Wiegers, tweeting about how committed he was to the program.
Those who are with me will be CHAMPIONS! @ListerLogan @Kraut32 @J_M_H23 @TDC_7 @KamLott_3 @Juss_nelson9 http://t.co/xjJ0H59Xxb #CHOP!— Tyler Wiegers (@TylerWiegers) November 13, 2013
@zheeman43 @JacquisW17 @TheBigRiq @RobMartin_2 @behr01 @RaaShad_TTG For sure my man, Big 10 championships on the way— Tyler Wiegers (@TylerWiegers) November 13, 2013
On November 13, Wiegers was promising Big Ten championships. On November 17, he was decommitting from Rutgers and scheduling an official visit to Iowa. On November 24, he was on the sideline at Kinnick while Iowa beat Michigan. This is in no way a slight directed at Wiegers; anyone who picked a college before his or her senior year even began can make a mistake. Rather, this is just another example of how fickle the recruiting game is, and how tenuous the solid commitments can be.
Once Wiegers had left Rutgers in the dust, his commitment to Iowa almost seemed elementary. The only other team seriously in the mix was Penn, and while an Ivy League education certainly holds some value, that whole "they don't give out scholarships" thing got in the way. Despite some late rumblings that Michigan State could get into the mix, Wiegers was essentially set to be a Hawkeye for the last month.
The highlight tape speaks for itself. He's a big, rangy pocket passer with the ability to throw the deep ball and enough elusiveness to scramble when everything breaks down. He is, essentially, every quarterback Iowa has recruited in the last decade that remained a quarterback. He can throw out of play action, roll out, or stand tall in the pocket and hit a receiver down the sideline. All that tape needs is more cowbell.
Quarterback was not a 'need' position for Iowa in 2014. The Hawkeyes expect four quarterbacks to return next year; even if the current logjam results in a transfer, Iowa still has Nic Shimonek (a project, to be sure) on the roster and an early 2015 commit assumedly on the way. But Iowa has not usually been serious players in the big-time quarterback recruiting game, a special subset of recruiting that has its own rules and standards. Iowa didn't go in looking to get Wiegers during that typical early recruiting period -- the Hawkeyes were chasing Rafe Peavey out of Missouri, and Wiegers' offer didn't come until he had already committed to Rutgers -- but it will gladly take a top-rated quarterback that falls in its lap.
So welcome aboard, Mr. Wiegers. You can bring those promised Big Ten championships along with you if you'd like.