Thursday, February 12, 2009

Iowa Recruiting

The Hawkeyes 2009 class hasn’t gotten a lot of respect from the media, perhaps deservingly so. Their average rated recruit is 2.33 stars, which isn’t getting anyone excited. Iowa’s class is ranked last in the Big Ten by both Scout.com and ESPN.com. The Hawkeyes got only four recruits rated three stars or better. The other 14 recruits are all ranked below three stars. But, there is good news. I believe that at least two, perhaps three, of the future Hawks have potential to develop into something special.


All three of Hawkeyes top recruits were from the state of Iowa. The 2009 class was heavily focused on the offensive side of the ball.

Jordan Cotton (Mount Pleasant High School) may turn out to be the star of the 2009 class. Cotton, who played time at running back in high school, will make the switch to wide receiver when he steps foot on the Iowa campus. Cotton is athletically gifted and could be a great risk/reward player for coach Kirk Ferentz. I would imagine that Cotton will redshirt in 2009 and take the time to further learn the position and the intangibles of playing WR. This isn’t the first time Iowa has moved a high school running back to the wide out position. Remember that one guy, what was his name….oh yeah, Tim Dwight. If Cotton’s transition can go nearly as well as Dwights or any of their other position-switchers (Clinton Solomon and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos were both high school QBs) then the Hawkeyes are in luck.

Brandon Wegher has all but turned into an Internet sensation without ever playing a snap of college ball. The hype has gotten so out of hand he might as well be Chuck Norris’ long lost lovechild. Now don’t get me wrong the hype is well deserved. Wegher did everything you could ask for out of a high school running back competing against 3A talent in the state of Iowa. All 3A schools around Iowa will be happy to see number 32 move on from the high school ranks. His numbers, well they’re astonishing. From ESPN.com:


Finished high school career with 6,823 yards, third most in state history. 2008:
Rushed for state-record 3,238 yards and 54 touchdowns. 2007: Rushed for
2,334
yards and 34 touchdowns on 286 carries (8.2 average). Made 28 tackles,
intercepted one pass and broke up nine others



While Iowa, is surprisingly set at the running back position, (no one would have thought that following the 2007 season) I can’t imagine how you can keep a talent like Wegher off the field. I think he will make an impact in 2009 (barring a redshirt), either on special teams or as a third down change-of-pace back from the more powerful tandem of Jewel Hampton and Jeff Brinson. Wegher was rated the 16th best running back in the 2009 class by scout.com.

The star of the Hawkeyes class, however, is Keenan Davis. Davis, the more polished of the two WR prospects, figures to get every chance to step in and play from day one. Davis was an Under Armour High School All-American, and was placed on the ESPN 150 list (116). He is ranked as the 16th best WR prospect by ESPN.com. Davis has the size (6’3”, 195) and the speed (4.5 40) to have Hawkeye fans drooling about his potential after working with acclaimed WR coach Erik Campbell. Davis could be the spark that the Iowa passing game has been lacking in the recent past. I see Davis getting the opportunity and making an instant impact in 2009. Oh and he's pretty athletic too:



While Iowa's class wasn't received well by the media (78th overall), I think the top prospects pull the rest of the class up a little bit. The potential for two or maybe three real playmakers positioned the Hawkeyes 9th in my Big Ten rankings, above Northwestern (11th) and Indiana (10th).

All photos courtesty of scout.com

4 comments:

  1. I caugt a little bit of Keenan Davis during the All-American game a few weeks ago. He caught a 30-something yard pass and the broadcasters began talking about how he a "fluid runner" and a "great pick-up for Iowa." It was exciting to hear.

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  2. I think we have some good recruits and am looking forward to see what we will do with them. I like when we don't get the blue chip players because I think that we do much better with two star guys. I think those guys work a lot harder to get better and better. And, as history shows, Iowa does better without the hoopla of five star players.

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  3. If anyone that follows Iowa football knows that it's not about stars. They find the hard-working, "Blue Collar" type players that don't get recruited by the "big name schools". Iowa will be just fine.

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  4. In Iowa, it might not be about stars. I am so tired of the off-season recruiting argument that stars don't mean anything and the literally hundreds of people spending their careers studying and critiquing high school football are completing a futile endeavor.

    Stars and ratings are the reason people like us pay attention to recruiting. Sure, use Iowa's 2005 class of all-star recruits as a perfect example of why recruiting grades are overrated.

    But look at Florida. Look at Oklahoma, Texas, USC.

    As far as I can tell, players like Percy Harvin who are absolute surefire blue-chippers coming out of high school have panned out for those schools. For every Kyle Williams at Iowa there is a Harvin at Florida who is a terrific athlete recruited into a perfect system for his playing style.

    Yes, stars can be overrated and this class might prove to be one of Iowa's better in the last decade. Who knows?

    Ferentz will be the first to say he doesn't care about stars and that '05 proved to him everything he ever wanted to know about recruiting. But if you don't think Iowa would do everything they could to nab more five-stars, that is crazy.

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