Hot on the heels of Ryan Boyle's verbal commitment to Iowa a few days ago, the Hawkeyes added a verbal commitment from Illinois QB/LB Jack Hockaday, a consensus 3* recruit, during a campus visit on Saturday.
Officially committed to the University of Iowa!! Blessed to have the opportunity to play for the coaches and fans of Iowa City #Hawkeyes— Jack Hockaday (@Jack_Hockaday) March 29, 2014
Hockaday is listed at 6-1, 205 and chose Iowa over reported offers from Nebraska, Duke, Illinois, and Indiana. As the Gazette's Marc Morehouse noted, Hockaday put up some pretty impressive numbers as a quarterback last year:
As a junior last season for Maroa-Forsyth (Ill.) High School, Hockaday passed for 2,126 yards (66.8 percent completion percentage), 30 TDs vs. two interceptions and rushed for 822 yards and 17 TDs.
But after getting commitments from Boyle and Jack Beneventi already, it's pretty clear that Hockaday was not being recruited as another signal-caller. No, he's another example of Iowa's time-honored (and often successful) strategy of recruiting high school quarterbacks who are great all-around athletes. Hockaday certainly fits the bill there, as you can see in the highlights below:
Ignoring all the offensive highlights (although it was fun to see Hockaday just motor down the field after keeping the ball on read-option plays), Hockaday shows some very solid defensive skills as well. There are some very nice ball skills and pass coverage ability on display there, as well as a few really great tackles. Hockaday projects to play at linebacker at Iowa, although which LB position that might be is still very much TBD. As Hockaday said to Hawkeye Report:
"Coach Woods wants me at LEO and Coach Reid says he's going to fight for me to play in the middle or outside, so it's still up in the air. They think I can play all three of them," he said.
Obviously, at 205, Hockaday likely needs to add some weight before he sees the field as a Big Ten linebacker -- but there's also plenty of time for him to do so. In the highlights, Hockaday reminded me a bit of former Iowa SS Tyler Sash. Part of it was the #9, sure, but it was also in the way he read the ball on pass plays and found himself in position to make a play, as well as in his tackling and even in some of his open-field moves on offense. Hockaday may not have the foot speed or recovery ability to be a pure safety, but he does seem to fit the new mold of quicker, faster, more coverage-ready linebackers that Iowa has been moving toward of late, as well as the hybrid safety-linebacker role that Iowa has tinkered with at times. Hockaday seems like an intriguing talent and a fine addition to Iowa's 2015 class. Welcome aboard.