We don't have much information on Lance Billings, Iowa's nineteenth commitment for its Class of 2016. We know he's a do-it-all player for Clearview High in Lorain, Ohio, playing wide receiver, H-back, running back, Wildcat quarterback, safety and kicker last season. We know that Clearview is the alma mater of Anthony Hitchens, who himself was an under-the-radar prospect when Iowa plucked him and is now with the Dallas Cowboys. We know that he had been largely ignored by the scouting services, which scrambled to hand him a grade Monday when he announced his commitment (2* Rivals, and the obligatory 3* from 247). We know that he's just 5'11 and 161 pounds, and that Iowa wants him primarily at defensive back, that his only scholarship offer was from Ball State before Iowa offered Monday, and that he committed on the spot.
And all of that would add up to yet another Iowa "under the radar"/MAC-offer-only commitment, another collective shrug, if it weren't for his highlight reel. Because Lance Billings is playing real-life video game football.
That clip at :50, where Billings takes the ball on an end around, breaks four tackles, jukes another defender to the turf and sprints for the pylon, is Sam McGuffie material. The touchdown run at 1:34, where he is a yard short of a first down, breaks two arm tackles, reverses field, goes back to the original line of scrimmage, then out-sprints the entire defense down the opposite sideline, is football porn of the highest order. And the punt return at 2:47, where he slides past the gunner, breaks two arm tackles, stiff arms a fool, breaks free of an obvious facemask and still manages to outrun everyone, is the stuff of legend. The offensive highlights are pulled from Greg Davis' deepest, darkest fantasies, but if you want defense, the hit he lays on a receiver at 4:46, lifting the guy up at the 6 and dropping him at the 12, shows what Iowa saw in him. To hell with 2015 Iowa football. I want to watch Clearview High to see what Lance Billings does next.
Highlight tapes are naturally suspect, due in large part to the fact that they're highlight tapes. But for a guy who has no offers and no hype, Lance Billings looks like one hell of an athlete. If your concern is that Iowa is recruiting too many high-floor, low-ceiling players and not enough pure athleticism, Lance Billings is your answer. And if you're looking for a little hope from a string of MAC-ish commits, Lance Billings might be just what you need.