After a week full of bad news on the recruiting front, Iowa finally has a new commit in the fold: Two-star interior lineman Ross Reynolds announced his commitment on Twitter this morning.
Iowa offered Reynolds some sort of scholarship last week, though neither he nor anyone else seemed to know whether it was a full offer or grayshirt. Once the offer was made, the commitment was widely expected, and a visit to Iowa City this weekend sealed the deal. Reynolds becomes the 20th member of Iowa's Class of 2014, and the third lineman.
Reynolds comes out of Waukee High School at 6'4 and 300 pounds, but like so many high school interior linemen, he'll need some rebuilding before he's ready to see the field. His seven other scholarship offers came from FCS programs, including UNI and UND, though he did draw some interest from Wisconsin and Minnesota.
The Reynolds offer was, in some ways, a white flag by a staff that chased offensive linemen for over a year and largely struck out. The Hawkeyes missed out on four-star tackle Brian Wallace, who surprisingly chose Arkansas on January 4. Their extended pursuit of Western Michigan commit Chukwuma Okorafor has apparently fallen short. Of course, Ross Pierschbacher decommitted to go to Alabama, and Orlando Brown dropped Iowa late for Tennessee. Iowa offered ten offensive tackles and landed one, Lucas LeGrand, and he's not even a guarantee to play tackle. Reynolds doesn't help that -- he's strictly a guard -- but he takes a spot that was probably set for a tackle, which is why nobody seems to know if he's grayshirting. Should Okorafor finally flip -- Brian Ferentz is reportedly making one last visit this weekend -- or something strange happen on Signing Day, Iowa wants to have the flexibility to capitalize.
As for Reynolds, he's going to be a project. Iowa occasionally unsurfaces a guy like Dominic Alvis or Nate Meier late in the process, a two-star FCS prospect simply overlooked by everyone else. That template doesn't really apply to Reynolds. Where Alvis and Meier (and Brett Van Sloten, who was identified and offered earlier but had a similar resume) were at small high schools largely unrecruited by big college football programs, Reynolds is a 300-pounder who plays for the state's second-largest high school, a team that went 10-1 and made the state quarterfinals in Iowa's top class. In other words, he didn't get missed.
The good news: There's no question he's excited for the opportunity...
It's official the Hawks have offered!!— Ross Reynolds (@BigRossReynolds) January 20, 2014
Whata day!— Ross Reynolds (@BigRossReynolds) January 21, 2014
...and there shouldn't be a question of effort. If he's ever going to get there, he'll have the effort and institional structure to make it happen. In other words, if a player in his situation is going to make an impact, it's going to be this kid.