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2014 Iowa Football Recruiting: The Defensive Backs

Iowa brought in four corners and a safety. It's like a Hugh Grant film, only instead it's a defensive backfield.

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.


Washington, D.C. (St. John's College High)

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Omar Truitt

To think we were worried that losing Darrell Wilson would mean the end of Iowa recruiting in the mid-Atlantic.  This list, with three defensive backs from the District of Columbia or its suburbs, shows thart Iowa's pipeline to the District is flowing just fine.  Iowa is the only team signing two of Washington's top seven.  Yes, Iowa.

Of the three D.C. defenders, Truitt looks most ready to play immediately.  He's a consensus Top 100 cornerback nationally, a Top 10 player in the district, and a target of some serious programs (Tennessee, Maryland, Penn State, NC State) who committed to Iowa in June, spurned further advances from other coaches, and even actively worked to recruit Miles Taylor. Iowa's record with guys out of the D.C. area has been spotty so far, but the players coming to Iowa from Florida and Texas in the past didn't have this kind of outside interest.  If even a few pan out, it's worth the effort.  And on initial inspection, Truitt looks like one that could do just that, and quickly.

2014 Outlook: Depending on what happens with Jordan Lomax -- another D.C.-area prospect who should probably take a starting role this season -- and some of the other young guys, Truitt could get into the mix for nickleback.  Otherwise, he's a likley special teams contributor.

FUN FACT: He has never watched The Wire, and he has no fucking idea what you're talking about with that joke.


Detroit, Michigan (Martin Luther King High)

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Jalen Embry

Embry is Iowa's Token Unrecruited Cornerback out of Michigan or Ohio for 2014, and this guy almost always ends up being a superstar.  Micah Hyde was this guy.  Desmond King was this guy.  Sean Draper, who should play significant minutes this year, was this guy.  MIchigan is Phil Parker's territory, and Phil Parker knows defensive backs.

It's that Parker seal of approval that probably makes Embry the most likely freshman cornerback to play right off the bat.  Everything else about him compares well with Truitt: Same height and weight, same sort of impressive offer sheet -- Embry held offers from Wisconsin, Cincinnati, a bunch of MAC programs, and serious interest from Michigan State -- and just a tenth of a second slow in the fake 40 yard dash.

2014 Outlook: He'll play somewhere, likely special teams until circumstances dictate otherwise.

FUN FACT: Jalen's parents are wild about wildlife, and had planned on naming their daughter "Joan Embry" in honor of the San Diego Zoo zooligist and frequent Johnny Carson guest.  When it turned out that they had a son, they quickly audibled into Jalen.


Washington, D.C. (Gonzaga High)

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Miles Taylor

Taylor's late commitment threw Iowa's class into a bit of flux.  The three-star safety had been pledged to Georgia Tech for nearly a year, but dogged work by Iowa's staff finally convinced him to come to Iowa City.  From there, it was elementary; by last Monday, Taylor had announced he was a Hawkeye and chastised the Georgia Tech staff for not contacting him at all during the most recent recruiting period.  The unexpected commitment gave Iowa too many defensive backs, and so the team jettisoned Texas-based safety Jyaz Jones, a very un-Iowa move (and a particularly strange one, given that Jones' brother is a wide receiver for Iowa).

If it means that Iowa is losing a safety recruit that was given a four-star rating by 247 Sports AND a wide receiver (we don't know if that's the case, but AJ Jones cannot be happy about what just happened, right?) then the guy they got had better be worth it.  And I don't think Ferentz does everything he did here -- commit resources and time to going straight at Paul Johnson for an out-of-area recruit, then let another kid who had already committed leave with just a week to go -- if he didn't think Taylor is one of the best safeties on the board.  Iowa desperately needs help at the position, with Tanner Miller leaving and everyone else on the roster not good enough to have replaced Tanner Miller last year, and Taylor might be the guy who benefits.

2014 Outlook: I think he'll play, and play considerable minutes.  If not, it's because someone has made a big step forward, and Iowa would then redshirt if at all possible.

FUN FACT: 'Miles Taylor' was the original name for a grandfatherly character that was supposed to be introduced in Season 2 of Friday Night Lights.  The character never made it to air.  Instead, they just had Landry kill that guy and become the dead-eyed villain at the end of Breaking Bad.  I just spoiled like an entire decade of TV for you.  You're welcome.


District Heights, Maryland (Forestville High)

3★ Rivals, 2★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Marcel Joly

Joly, Embry, and Truitt are all the same starter kit: 5'11, 180-185 lbs., 4.5 40 yard dash, and a good offer sheet.  For Joly, that was Maryland, Vanderbilt, Temple, and Old Dominion.  Experts have said that Joly isn't as big as Truitt or Embry, even though they technically have the same size, so Iowa might need to do some additional work to get him ready for the field.  His videos show that he has no fear of contact and can hit like a beast, and Iowa is always going to use a guy who can hold the edge and help against the run at corner if available.

Where Joly might stand out is as a returner, where he excelled in high school.  Iowa always needs returners.  Let's make him a returner.

2014 Outlook: If he plays, it's on special teams or due to a catastrophic even that wipes out the cornerback depth chart...unless he really is a tiny Desmond King and Iowa needs run defense assistance.

FUN FACT: Marcel Joly is a three-star defensive back, but Jolly Marcel is the French Canadian Santa Claus.


Lake Dallas, Texas (Lake Dallas High)

2★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 2★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Josh Jackson

Normally, the two-star guy on a chart full of three-star prospects is pigeonholed as the "project," and Jackson might well be that.  But Iowa has repeatedly shown that it's not afraid to play a two-star recruit as a freshman, particularly in the secondary, if that player comes to town knowing exactly what he has to do to play.  Jackson doesn't have the usual telltale signs of an under-the-radar first-year contributor -- he played wide receiver in high school, not quarterback, for one -- and immediate reliance on a two-star true freshman would drive the fan base crazy, but Iowa doesn't care about that.  The best guy plays, and until proven otherwise, Josh Jackson could be the best guy.

Then again, he could redshirt.  I mean, Iowa had to beat out Central Oklahoma to get him.

2014 Outlook: Generally, defensive backs don't redshirt, but Iowa has so many defensive backs that someone is probably going to have to.  Let's give that to Jackson for now.