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2014 Iowa Football Recruiting: The Defensive Linemen and Linebackers

Taking a look at the defensive front seven players (linebackers and defensive linemen) in Iowa's 2014 recruiting class.

Sure, caring is creepy. That's why we generally leave it to the Rivals/Scout guys. But once their signature goes on the dotted line of an Iowa letter of intent, caring ceases to be creepy and becomes essential. So, without further ado, your objects of affection and/or scorn (sometimes both at the same time) for the next four or five years.

Next up: the defensive front-seven!

Matt Nelson

Defensive End
Cedar Rapids, IA (Xavier)
3 ★ Rivals, 3 ★ Scout, 3 ★ ESPN, 3 ★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Matt Nelson

The first thing that stands out with Nelson is how tall he stands. At 6'8" he is a big dude for a defensive end. Usually a lineman this big is slotted for a potential offensive tackle spot, but it sounds like Nelson is locked in on the D. His highlights show off his ability to match up against offensive tackles and get off blocks quickly. He's also surprising quick when chasing down opposing QBs. At 250 pounds, he has a little beefing up to do before his going to be able to do those things against B1G offensive tackles, so a redshirt year is probably in order.

2014 Outlook: Redshirt

FUN FACT: After signing his LOI, Nelson promised, being from Cedar Rapids, that he won't let you down. So I'm going to hold him to that.

Torey Hendrick

Defensive End
Brooklyn, NY (ASA College)
3 ★ Rivals, 4 ★ Scout, 3 ★ ESPN, 3 ★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Torey Hendrick

Iowa tried to find some JUCO defensive linemen last year, but didn't get any bites. Though the defensive line play was improved in 2013, it still needs some immediate help. Hendrick could be that guy.* He was a very late addition to this class, but a widely-offered one. He is on the smaller side at just 230 pounds, so it seems likely that he won't be an every-down type of defensive end. He's going to be a pass rush specialist. He could be used like Reggie Spearman was this year in the Raider package. Or he could line up at end in a normal 4-3 alignment, but on definite passing downs.

Editor's Note: Or maybe not.

2014 Outlook: Play

FUN FACT: From Kendrick Lamar to Jimmy Hendrix to Anna Kendrick, Torey just loves listening to music from artists who have names that rhyme with his.

Parker Hesse

Waukon, IA (Waukon)
2 ★ Rivals, 3 ★ Scout, 3 ★ ESPN, 3 ★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Parker Hesse

A high school quarterback from Iowa who led his team to the Class 2A title game and was mostly overlooked until he had a great camp at Iowa...that's a familiar sounding story. He's a prototypical Iowa player and his name is Parker. The kid has things working his way. Parker Hesse can't lose! In addition to quarterback, he played defensive end in high school, but is expected to be a linebacker for the Hawkeyes. He'll need to learn the position and, at 205, will probably need to add a few pounds before he competes for a spot, even with all three starting linebackers from 2013 leaving.

2014 Outlook: Redshirt

FUN FACT: Even though Parker is his first name, he still was asked if he was related to Norm Parker and Phil Parker when he committed to Iowa.

Jameer Outsey

Somerset, NJ (Franklin)
2 ★ Rivals, 3 ★ Scout, 3 ★ ESPN, 3 ★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him from Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Jameer Outsey

Outsey played OLB in a 3-4 defense in high school, but he was basically a defensive end. Most of his highlights show him playing close to the line and making plays in the backfield. Other schools even offered him specifically as a DE. So coverage might be something he needs to learn before he sees much of the field. Then again, he's another guy that the Raider package may offer early opportunities for seeing the field if he proves himself a worthy pass rusher. But I think a redshirt year is more likely.

2014 Outlook: Redshirt

FUN FACT: Outsey at Outsey linebacker. We're going to make that joke a lot. We already did. A few times already. It's going to be the new "Duzey doozy". You're welcome.

Terrence Harris

Defensive End
Paramus, NJ (Paramus Catholic)
2 ★ Rivals, 3 ★ Scout, 3 ★ ESPN, 2 ★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him from Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Terrence Harris

Yes, apparently Iowa only recruits NJ/NY (thanks, B1G, for adding Rutgers, I guess) and Iowa for defensive players. Harris committed way back in the summer and it was kind of a surprise to see such an under-the-radar type guy commit that early. His offer sheet isn't overly impressive, but the coaches must have seen something they liked. So we're going to roll with it. He looks well-put together and he can certainly destroy high school-sized offensive linemen. But he's probably a project and a redshirt candidate this year.

2014 Outlook: Redshirt

FUN FACT: Harris was the drummer of a bad Paramore cover band named "Paramus" after his hometown. He's leaving his bandmates behind to attend the University of Iowa.

Aaron Mends

Kansas City, MO (Winnetonka)
3 ★ Rivals, 3 ★ Scout, 3 ★ ESPN, 3 ★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him from Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Aaron Mends

Mends was a runner and run-stopper in high school...and he was good at both. Mends is slated to play on the defensive side of the ball for the Hawkeyes, though. We have him slotted in for the weakside spot right now, but it might be tough to win a spot there with Spearman the other likely candidate to start there. Still, Mends could also be a big special teams contributor. It might make sense for the coaches to stagger this class of linebackers too, so it might make sense to play Mends now (since he seems the most likely to be an immediate contributor).

2014 Outlook: Play (special teams)

FUN FACT: Mends may mend many manly men's minds.

Ben Niemann

Sycamore, IL (Sycamore)
2 ★ Rivals, 3 ★ Scout, 3 ★ ESPN, 3 ★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him from Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Ben Niemann

Niemann's dad is an assistant coach at Northern Illinois. NIU beat Iowa in football, but not in recruiting. (Winners at picking up kids with MAC offers! Woo!) His dad also played at Iowa State and though I don't even think they offered, let's just say that Iowa beat them in recruiting for him, too. Anyway, Niemann played a lot of wide receiver in high school and doesn't even weigh in at 200, per his listed measurements. He came to an Iowa camp as a wide receiver, and they liked him, but wanted him on defense. He's going to be a project, but with his athleticism and speed, he might find his way onto a special teams unit sooner than later. Probably not this year, though.

2014 Outlook: Redshirt

FUN FACT: His odd running stride has leant him the nickname "Bent Knee Man."