Iowa football landed its twelfth prospect for 2015 this weekend with the commitment of Nate Vejvoda. The 6'5, 210-lb. tight end had committed to Miami (Ohio) in late June and held offers from six other MAC programs. Iowa offered a scholarship late last week, Vejvoda attended the weekend cookout in Iowa City, and Kirk Ferentz had his next tight end before the hamburgers had turned cold. He holds a three-star rating from 247 Sports, while Rivals gives him two stars. While Illinois, Indiana and Purdue had shown some reported interest, Iowa was his only BCS-level offer.
Despite his modest pedigree, there are reasons for optimism. Vejvoda is a product of Providence Catholic High in New Lenox, Ill., where he has teamed with Notre Dame wide receiver commit Miles Boykin. Vejvoda may have been overshadowed by his four-star teammate, especially since both have played as wide receivers. Further, Iowa has long-standing ties to Providence Catholic; 2012 four-star offensive lineman Ryan Ward played at Providence, and a number of other players out of the school have been on Iowa's radar in recent years. If there's one thing Iowa has shown it can do, it is grabbing an overlooked receiver from an established high school program and building him into a tight end.
With that said, Vejvoda had been on Iowa's radar for quite some time -- according to 247's reports, he had attended Iowa's summer camps for the last two summers -- and did not receive an offer until the Hawkeyes had struck out on a number of other tight end recruits. There's no doubt he's a project, and the chances of him contributing in the near future look small. Except for unique talents like Jake Duzey, most Iowa tight ends break through as blockers first, and Vejvoda will need some serious work if he is to become a capable blocker at this level.
Iowa now has twelve commits for 2015, a class that has been focused heavily in the trenches. With approximately eight spots left to fill, Iowa needs skill position talent -- the Hawkeyes missed on two running back recruits in the last week and have just one wide receiver in the class so far -- and improved talent in general if this class isn't going to become the sort of developmental-heavy risk that those disastrous late-00's classes were. Guys like Vejvoda have been a part of every Iowa class since the dawn of time, but Iowa needs some plug-and-play talent soon if it's going to avoid a big crater from what had been a promising year.