The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for Iowa football recruiting and things aren't slowing down yet. Iowa's hosting the Hawkeye Tailgater, a big recruiting event, this weekend and they added two more recruits last night. First up: TE T.J. Hockenson.
Hockenson, a 6-5, 230 lb prospect from Chariton with a listed 40 time of 4.72, is ranked a 2* prospect by Rivals and a 3* prospect by 247 and Scout. (ESPN hasn't ranked him yet.) Hockenson was wildly productive as a junior: 73 receptions, 1116 yards, 18 touchdowns, per Rivals. Those numbers are pretty ridiculous, even allowing for the fact that it was against 3A competition.
Hockenson chose Iowa over offers from Iowa State and Eastern Michigan. He becomes the 11th member of Iowa's 2016 recruiting class, the 7th offensive player to join the class (based on current positional projections, which are, as always, subject to change), and the first tight end. Iowa is slated to lose several tight ends over the next few seasons (Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger-Coble are both seniors, while George Kittle is a junior), so there's definitely a need to re-stock this position, especially given its importance in Iowa's offense.
There are a lot of things to like about Hockenon's film. He's not a burner, but he looks to run pretty good routes and does a nice job of getting open. Chariton split him out wide quite a bit and used him to stretch the field; I don't think he has the wheels to do that in the Big Ten, but he appears fast enough to make the plays that Iowa needs out of the tight end position. He's not afraid of contact, nor does he shy away from catching the ball in traffic (check out the catch around the 3:45 mark). What stands out more than anything, though, are his hands. Granted, highlight reels present a skewed view of things -- no drops to be found here! -- but he makes so many catches in so many different ways (up high, in traffic, in stride, along the sidelines, in the middle of the field, etc.) that it's hard not to come away with a favorable impression of his catching ability. There isn't much to go in the way of his blocking, but he lays a few nice blocks in the clips we see; how quickly he's able to become a consistently good blocker is likely to determine how much early playing time he sees at Iowa.
Welcome aboard, Mr. Hockenson.