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CARING IS CREEPY 2016: HAVE A SEAT, AMANI HOOKER

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Iowa lands its first defensive back for next year's class.

Another day, another football commitment: Three-star safety Amani Hooker verbally committed to Iowa Tuesday, becoming the ninth player (and fifth in the last two weeks) to announce his intention to become a Hawkeye next February.  Hooker, who plays high school football for Minneapolis's Park Center High, was ranked as the eighth-best prospect in the Worst State Ever by 247 Sports.  He held offers from the usual suspects: New Mexico, Northern Illinois and a handful of FCS programs.

The good news: Regardless of his standing with recruitniks, Hooker checks all of the Iowa safety recruit boxes in his highlight video.  If it is any true indication, he's fast, he's sure-handed, and he hits like a cement truck.  At 6'1 and 185 pounds, he's a bit light to be an Iowa strong safety -- the only Iowa safeties to start at less than 200 pounds in the last decade were Jordan Lomax and Micah Hyde, both cornerbacks converted to safety as upperclassmen -- but Hooker could certainly contribute on special teams immediately.  He's also Iowa's first recruit out of Minnesota since Malik Rucker in 2013, and while Worststate isn't necessarily a high school football hotbed, it's still a place where Iowa should be doing better than once-a-presidential-term recruiting.

The bad news: Phil Parker has made his career on identifying high-two and low-three star cornerbacks who become NFL-caliber defenders.  Desmond King, a borderline three-star player, has been crucial to Iowa's defense since the moment he stepped on campus.  Same goes for B.J. Lowery, Micah Hyde, Shaun Prater, Amari Spievey, Bradley Fletcher, Charles Godfrey, Jovon Johnson and Antwaan Allen before him.  It's what Iowa does.

But while Parker has been stellar at identifying and landing under-the-radar cornerbacks, his track record at recruiting safety is not nearly as heralded.  Sure, there was Bob Sanders, but since Big Hit Bob and his protege Sean Considine left 10 years ago, the only safety of note has been Tyler Sash, who was not exactly under the radar.  Part of the problem was tactical: Iowa spent most of the late aughts choosing walk-ons or near-walk-ons as free safeties with mixed results; Adam Shada never worked out, Brett Greenwood was one year of payoff for three of marginal-at-best play, Tom Donatell, Collin Sleeper, Jack Swanson, Tanner Miller, John Lowdermilk, et cetera, et cetera.

And as bad as the record has been for marginal prospects patrolling Iowa's defensive center field, the record for recruited safeties is potentially worse.  Jordan Bernstine, one of the most coveted in-state recruits in the last 20 years, spent four years on the bench before playing significant minutes.  Nico Law came and went without doing anything of consequence.  Guys like Anthony Gair, Ruben Lile and Solomon Warfield have been pretty much invisible.  And while the staff had previously indicated that they like redshirt freshman Miles Taylor, word out of spring practice was that he's effectively tied with -- you guessed it -- a walk-on.  Something isn't right in the way that Iowa is currently choosing or coaching safeties, and Hooker could face an uphill battle to make up for it.