Were you going through a bit of withdrawal because it had been several whole days since Iowa had picked up a verbal commitment from a recruit? Fear not -- another recruit pledged his football future to Iowa on Friday night. Brandon Simon, a DE prospect out of New Jersey, gave his verbal commitment to Iowa on Friday, becoming the 17th member of the 2016 recruiting class.
I'm Blessed and Honored to say that I will be furthering my education and football career at the University of Iowa pic.twitter.com/EovoArgPBi— Buwop (@Brandon_Simon_) June 26, 2015
Simon, a consensus 3* DE from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, NJ, chose Iowa over offers from Syracuse, Boston College, and a host of East Coast mid-majors. (And also Monmouth. Suck it, Monmouth.) Simon is the fourth defensive end Iowa has added in this class, although he's a bit smaller than the others -- the scouting sites list him at 6'2", 240; Iowa's three previous ends in this class have all been 6'4" or taller. Per 247, Iowa was looking at him as a hybrid defender (OLB or DE) earlier in the process, but he's coming in as an end now.
Simon flashes some nice skills in his highlights, particularly in terms of run defense. He shows pretty good instincts and a nose for the ballcarrier and sheds blocks well. As a pass rusher, he'll likely need to work on his technique -- he seems to get by with speed and brute strength in these clips. That works at the high school level, but he doesn't appear to be enough of a freak athlete to get away with it at the Big Ten level. But he has time to work on that.
Defensive end was a huge need for this recruiting class and Iowa has definitely attacked it with gusto on the recruiting trail. Simon is the fourth defensive end in this class, joining Detroit teammates Cedrick Lattimore and Chauncey Golston and in-state end Austin Schulte. Schulte indicated that Iowa told him that they were looking to add four defensive ends in this class; if that's the case, they might be done adding to this position for now. That said, Chicago-area DE Romeo McKnight is expected to announce his college decision on Monday; Iowa was his most notable offer and was favored to land him as recently as a few weeks ago. It's possible that Iowa has cooled on him and moved on to other targets (such as Schulte and Simon); we should find out on Monday.
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And in other recruiting news involving defensive linemen... in-state Juan Harris (re-re) re-committed to Iowa this week. We're pleased to have him for many reasons -- he's a 4* recruit, he's a big in-state target, he has great potential -- but we've also done this dance a few times already. Harris can't sign a Letter of Intent with Iowa until February 2017 (unless the NCAA gets around to introducing an early signing period before then), which means there are still many months to go until he can make his verbal commitment an official one. We'll certainly keep rooting for him to stick with Iowa, but there's a long way to go on this one.