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Family ties pay off for Iowa on the recruiting trail yet again.

As we noted earlier, Iowa's already added two commitments during this weekend's Hawkeye Tailgater recruiting event.  The second verbal commitment they picked up?  Illinois TE Nick Niemann, the 12th member of Iowa's 2016 recruiting class.  Iowa called on some family ties to lure Niemann to Iowa City -- his older brother, Ben, is currently slated to be Iowa's starting outside linebacker this fall.  Niemann becomes the second recruit of this class with family connections to Iowa (joining Kyle Taylor) and the fifth recruit of the last two classes that had some sort of family tie to Iowa (either a current teammate or an alumnus).  Hey, work every angle you can.

The younger Niemann is a more highly regarded recruit than his older brother.  Ben was a 2* recruit with reported offers from Eastern Michigan, Illinois State, and Northern Illinois. Nick lists offers from MAC schools as well (Buffalo, Miami (OH)), but he also lists offers from some BCS schools, too (Wisconsin, Illinois, Northwestern).  Niemann is listed at 6-3, 205, with a (fake) 40 time of 4.58.  Rivals and 247 both tab him as 3*, while Scout lists him as a 2* recruit. (ESPN has not ranked him.)

Like his older brother, Nick Niemann projects as an outside linebacker in college.  Depending on how things shake out among the linebacker positions over the next few seasons, there's a chance that there could be a Niemann listed on the top of the depth chart at OLB for several years.

The legitimacy of that 4.58 40 time may be in doubt, but he does show some nice quickness in his highlights, both north-south and east-west.  He strings out nicely, does a good job of getting into the backfield, and seems to finish tackles pretty well.  One thing that's not very clear from these highlights is how good he is in coverage.  Pass coverage is a must for linebackers, especially at the OLD position.  Niemann will need to be able to track tight ends and (yes) slot receivers if he's going to be effective for Iowa's defense.  But there's time for him to work on those skills before getting thrust into the fire here.  In the meantime, welcome aboard, Mr. Niemann.