You've got to hand it to Reese Morgan. Not only is Iowa's defensive line coach and Iowa/Nebraska recruiting shaman able to pluck FBS-ready football talent from complete obscurity, but he can also occasionally land a big fish. So it is that Friday morning, three-star tight end recruit Noah Fant shocked everyone (well, everyone but Andrew Kulha) by announcing his commitment to Iowa over Nebraska on an Omaha radio station. He might as well have worn a troll mask to the studio.
Fant, who plays high school ball at Omaha South, chose the Hawkeyes over the home-state Huskers, UCLA, Arizona State and Vanderbilt. Cal, Iowa State, and a host of MAC/Mountain West programs had also offered. He holds a three-star grade from Rivals and 247, both of which rank him as the second-best player in the state of Nebraska this year. Iowa apparently wants him at tight end, though others have projected him at defensive end. There is still some threat here: Nebraska recruiting observers were of the belief that any Fant commitment would only last as long as Notre Dame stayed away, and the Irish could still offer. For now, though, it looks solid.
Fant's the 23rd commitment in Iowa's 2016 class, and one of the most important. While wide receiver recruiting under Greg Davis and Bobby Kennedy has been spotty at best, Iowa's made real progress with hybrid receiver-tight end guys like Jake Duzey and George Kittle. With Fant, the Hawkeyes now have two similar players in this class (the other being in-state tight end T.J. Hockenson), which could give them some offensive versatility going forward.
Of course, it's nice to get one over on Nebraska, too, given that the Huskers snagged the top-rated recruit out of Iowa before the Hawkeyes even knew he existed. Iowa used to do this occasionally. If it can get back to that, this thing might turn around after all.