Arguably the best recruit in Iowa's 2015 recruiting class was James Daniels, a 4* OL prospect who just so happened to be the younger brother of a current Iowa player, RB LeShun Daniels. A year later and arguably the best recruit in Iowa's 2016 recruiting class is its newest verbal commitment, Kyle Taylor, 3* LB prospect... who just so happens to be the younger brother of a current Iowa player, S Miles Taylor. Thank you, family ties.
Taylor continues the flood of recent verbal commitments for the Hawkeyes, but he's a bit different than Spencer Williams, Cole Banwart, and Coy Kirkpatrick (to be profiled shortly). Unlike those three, Taylor isn't an in-state recruit -- he hails from the D.C. region. Also unlike those three? Taylor, a consensus 3* recruit, chose Iowa over some legit offers (Wisconsin, Virginia Tech, Boston College, North Carolina). That's a very welcome change of pace for Iowa's recruiting efforts -- a football team cannot live on unheralded or low-ranked prospects alone. Not unless it wants a 6-7 win ceiling, anyway.
But I digress. Leaving aside what Taylor means for the big picture for Iowa's recruiting efforts, he just looks like a very solid and exciting prospect in his own right. At 6-2, 220, Taylor is a bit bigger than his older brother (listed at 6-0, 195 lbs on the most recent depth chart), which is likely why he projects as a linebacker in college. In his highlights (see below), Taylor looks like a prototypical inside linebacker -- he spends most of his time around the line of scrimmage and shows solid speed and good recognition during plays. He gets to the ballcarrier quickly and tackles well. He looks like he might be able to offer some pass rush skills on blitzes from the linebacker position as well, but at Iowa his primary role is going to be cleaning up plays after the line funnels the action toward him -- and he looks very capable of doing that. His coverage skills look more uncertain and how well he picks that up will likely determine how quickly he sees the field at Iowa.
Iowa has a young cadre of linebackers -- all three projected starters this year (Josey Jewell, Bo Bower, and Ben Niemann) are sophomores and Iowa added a pair of linebackers in their 2014 class (Jameer Outsey and Aaron Mends), both of whom redshirted last year. Iowa also added a handful of LB prospects in their 2015 class, but most of them seem to project more at OLB or WLB, not MLB.
The relationship between eligibility and the depth chart is always a bit fluid, but on paper things set up well for Taylor: Jewell, Bower, and Niemann will be juniors in 2016, when Taylor will be a true freshman and a possible redshirt candidate. If he does redshirt, he'll be a redshirt freshman while they're seniors, giving him a chance to get his feet wet before potentially sliding into a starter's role as a sophomore in 2018. That's a long -- and thoroughly hypothetical -- way down the road, though. For now, let's just be glad that Taylor has opted to follow his brother to Iowa. Welcome aboard, Mr. Taylor.