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2015 IOWA FOOTBALL RECRUITING: LINEBACKER, SECONDARY

Iowa took some shots in the defensive backfield. Lord only knows what will develop.

JACK HOCKADAY

Outside Linebacker, 6'1", 204
Maroa, Ill. (Maroa-Forsyth HS)

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Jack Hockaday | Jack Hockaday Recruiting Capsule

Hockaday is both the old and new breed of Ferentz recruit.  He comes from a small town (old school), he played quarterback for his high school team (old school), and he's being recruited to play a position that would require another 25 pounds of muscle (definitely old school).  But Hockaday also has a level of speed that Iowa had at outside linebacker with Christian Kirksey and desperately needed last season when a trio of lightly-recruited fill-ins were repeatedly targeted by opposing offenses.

Kirk Ferentz recruits new guys on the basis of how they compare to old guys.  Hockaday might not have the 6'4 frame of A.J. Edds -- still the gold standard at that position -- he has the quarterback pedigree.  And Hockaday might not have the instincts of Christian Kirksey, but he has that kind of athleticism.  He's intriguing, to say the least.

2015 Outlook: With all that said, Hockaday is still 25 pounds light and behind the much-lauded Ben Niemann, so it's likely a redshirt season for him.

Fun Fact: Jack Hockaday was named after the Dickensian character of the same name, the son of Gaffer Hockaday in the much-beloved classic Our Mutual Friend.

ANGELO GARBUTT

Outside Linebacker, 6'2", 210
Carrollton, Tex. (Hebron)

3★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Angelo Garbutt Recruiting Capsule

Garbutt's path to Iowa was about as strange as it got in the 2015 cycle.  The Texas linebacker had previously committed to play for Mike Riley at Oregon State, the first coach to offer him a scholarship last winter.  But when Riley left Oregon State for Nebraska this fall, Iowa got into the pool, offering Garbutt on December 18.  It was, however, one day after Riley reaffirmed his interest by offering a Nebraska scholarship to him.  Chances of Iowa winning this one still looked rather bleak.

Garbutt visited Iowa City on January 23 and left without much of a comment in either direction.  His official visit to Nebraska the next week was, by all accounts, an unmitigated disaster.  Details are naturally sparse, but there was some level of mutual disrespect that led Garbutt to reportedly leave Lincoln early and immediately catapulted Iowa into the lead.  Garbutt had promised to wait until Signing Day to announce his decision, but jumped the gun by 24 hours and committed Tuesday.

Garbutt was productive at a legitimate high school program in a legitimate high school football state, and his size could allow him to move into the weakside role if things fall as planned.  The assumption has to be that one of the top two linebacker recruits will prove himself adept enough in pass coverage to handle the outside spot, and the other will bulk up into Anthony Hitchens v.2.0.  I'd guess Garbutt for the latter, but it's just a guess.

2015 Outlook: If fake 40 times and scouting reports are any indication, he could play on special teams immediately.  Iowa has not been shy about using linebackers like Garbutt in passing situations, either, so he could see some action.

Fun Fact: His name has the word "butt" in it, making him Adam Jacobi's favorite player the moment his letter came across the fax machine.

JUSTIN JINNING

Outside Linebacker, 6'1", 210
The Colony, Tex. (HS)
2★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, 3★ ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Justin Jinning | Justin Jinning Recruiting Capsule

Jinning committed to Iowa during the vaunted B-FERENTZ SUMMER RECRUITING BEACH BOYS BBQ BLOWOUT BASH BLAST back in June, possibly during a helicopter ride.  Like classmates Hockaday and Garbutt, he's built to get into the backfield and blow things up.  Unlike the other two, Jinning doesn't exactly have those under-the-radar signatures or offer list (his only other published offers were from Purdue and New Mexico State).

It's not exactly out of the question that Jinning ends up at middle linebacker; his speed is good but not earth-shattering, and he's simply thicker than Hockaday at this point.  But Iowa has shown an ability to plug and play linebackers where they can help most -- last season, it was just finding guys who could help at all -- and Jinning was productive enough to potentially make the move.

2015 Outlook: An almost-certain redshirt, simply due to the logjam at the outside position and number of young linebackers in that January two-deep.

Fun Fact: Jinning's last name has no connection to "ginning," which is when one drinks Beefeater until he or she adopts a fake British accent.

MICHAEL OJEMUDIA

Strong safety, 6'2", 190
Farmington Hills, Mich. (Harrison HS)

2★ Rivals, 3★ Scout, NR ESPN, 3★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: Have a Seat, Michael Ojemudia | Michael Ojemudia Recruiting Capsule

Iowa landed Ojemudia's commitment in late January after a brief courtship.  The product of suburban Detroit has previously been committed to Eastern Michigan and received modest late interest from other programs like Indiana.  But where EMU and Indiana projected Ojemudia as a linebacker, Iowa's plugging him in at safety.

That raises a couple of concerns.  As was astutely pointed out in the comments on Ojemudia's commitment post, it is not usually Iowa's standard practice to take a player projected by others at a "bigger" position and play him at a "smaller" spot.  Iowa converts projected safeties to linebacker, not vice versa.

With that said, Iowa's secondary coach Phil Parker has a knack for finding guys like this in Michigan and Ohio, so we'll trust him until we can no longer.  The same goes for his previous commitment; EMU coach Chris Creighton has previously proven his ability to find obscure talent when building a better-than-average non-scholarship program at Drake. (Yes, I'm really trying to find something positive here.)

2015 Outlook: Despite Iowa's shallow pool of safeties, the staff is relatively high on sophomore Miles Taylor, and starting free safety Jordan Lomax is still here.  Ojemudia might sneak into the depth chart, but it's unlikely he'll do much more than that.

Fun Fact: EMU's mascot is not an emu.  That would make too much sense.

NICK WILSON

Safety/Linebacker, 6'2", 205
West Des Moines, Iowa (Dowling HS)

2★ Rivals, 2★ Scout, NR ESPN, 2★ 247Sports

You Might Remember Him From Such Posts As: CIC Update | Nick Wilson Recruiting Capsule

Wilson was the ninth and final commit in this year's class from the state of Iowa, a record in-state haul for Iowa under Ferentz.  He's a high school teammate of Iowa's top quarterback recruit Ryan Boyle, and was basically a tackling machine at Iowa Class 4A state champion Dowling.  Iowa stole him away from Western Illinois.

There are a couple of reasons for optimism here.  For one, Reese Morgan has proven adept at finding diamonds in deep, deep Iowa rough, guys with far fewer accolades than Wilson.  For another, Iowa's had a strange amount of success with these "teammate of top recruit" guys (remember Adam Robinson?).  Third, anything that gives Iowa a foothold in West Des Moines is good.

2015 Outlook: An absolute redshirt.

Fun Fact: Wilson is unrelated to the volleyball from Cast Away, but he is the nephew of the Home Improvement neighbor.