Iowa recruitniks were saying throughout last week that this was arguably the biggest football recruiting weekend the program would host this year. Five commitments later, we have to ask: Did it somehow exceed expectations?
"Recruiting Tailgater Weekend" closed Sunday night with the verbal commitment of Maryland-based wide receiver prospect Devonte Young. The 6'1, 185-pound wideout is not yet rated by 247 Sports and a two-star prospect at Rivals. He held offers from Pitt and Rutgers.
Iowa liked Young from the start: The Hawkeyes were the first program to offer a scholarship, the front-runner from the beginning, and probably his inevitable landing spot. Still, the fact that a trip to Iowa City could cement the commitment of an out-of-state recruit who was starting to pick up steam -- he had some level of interest from Florida, Maryland and Penn State, among others -- only reaffirms that Iowa's new recruiting template is beginning to work. Early offers, coupled with a visit to the new practice facility from those who accept Iowa's initial entreaties, could actually work.
Of course, there's also this:
The Iowa Hawkeyes 2016 recruiting class is up to No. 26 in the country after all the recent commits https://t.co/QWKqZT7Fn4— Blair Sanderson (@BlairRIVALS) June 22, 2015
Iowa is now 30th in the 247 ratings, as well. A big part of that is simply volume: Just six FBS programs have more commitments than Iowa after this weekend, and just one of those -- Western Michigan -- is ranked below Iowa in the national ratings. And if the star ratings of many of Iowa's current commits don't improve over the next seven months, the Hawkeyes will almost certainly drop. But the Hawkeyes haven't been withing rock-throwing distance of the top 30 at any point in the last five years. Recruiting momentum is a real thing that can change the course of a program, and Iowa has it right now. With just a handful of spots still open, if Iowa can win some battles and land some real four-star prospects, we could look back at the 2015 offseason as the turning point that we had hoped the 2014 season would be.