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Archive for January, 2009

Recruiting campaign winding down

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Iowa received its 18th verbal commitment this week from highly regarded offensive tackle Nolan MacMillan, a 286-pound Canadian who played last season at Hun Prep in Princeton, N.J.

The Hawkeyes are likely to take only one or two more players when the national signing date rolls around next Wednesday.

One player they still are avidly pursuing is another New Jersey star – Ka’lial Glaud, who has multiple ties to Iowa. He attended Winslow Township High School in Atco, the school that spawned Shonn Greene, and is the nephew of former Hawkeye star LeRoy Smith.

Glaud could fit in at several different positions, At 6-foot-2, 217 pounds with a 40 time of 4.6, he could be a linebacker, defensive end, fullback or tight end. His uncle came to Iowa as a running back but ended up becoming one of the most dominant speed pass rushers in Iowa history. LeRoy Smith’s school records for sacks in a game (5) and season (18) have stood for 18 years.

While most prospects around the country have either made commitments or trimmed their list to two or three schools, the race for Glaud appears to still be wide open. He made official visits to Iowa, Louisville, Maryland, Rutgers and West Virginia and had home visits with all five schools within the past week, according to Rivals.com.

Fresh batch of recruits

Monday, January 26th, 2009

The recruiting drought is over. After not getting a verbal commitment for nearly two months, the Hawkeyes received commitments from five players who visited the campus over the weekend, pushing their total to 17. Chances are, there will be only a few more.

Most of the most recent recruits look to be fallback guys — players Kirk Ferentz and his staff took because someone else didn’t pan out – but Iowa has actually had decent success with those type of players. They may take an extra year or two to develop but they sometimes develop into decent players.

The new recruits: Quarterback Micah Hyde of Fostoria, Ohio; tight ends Connor Boffeli of West Des Moines Valley and Dakota Getz of Macon, Ill.; wide receiver Stephane Ngoumou of Rockville, Md.; and offensive lineman Matt Murphy of Clinton, Iowa.

I’ve seen Murphy play both football and basketball over the past few years and I think he has possibilities. He’s 6-6, 255, and can easily carry more than 300 pounds. He’s surprisingly agile on the basketball court (he’s a three-year starter) and has a bit of a nasty streak. He said Iowa told him they might give him a shot at tight end but he’s probably dreaming there. The Hawkeyes often bring in tight ends and make them into interior linemen – i.e., Robert Gallery, Eric Steinbach, Ross Verba, Bruce Nelson – but I don’t recall them making any tight ends out of linemen. Look for Bof-feli to become a lineman eventually, too.

The sleeper in this batch of recruits is Ngoumou, a 6-4, 195-pounder who isn’t even listed on some recruiting sites. He was scheduled to visit Syracuse and Connecticut but as so often happens, he cancelled those visits after his weekend trip to Iowa.

Long commitment drought

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

It has been nearly two months since the Hawkeyes received a verbal commitment from a football recruit, but things should begin to take shape in the next week or so. The signing date is Feb. 4, less than two weeks away.

Coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff have only 12 commitments at this point with the most recent one being St. Petersburg, Fla., wideout Josh Brown, who committed on Nov. 29. The Hawks are still involved with several big offensive linemen and will have a handful of players in for official visits this weekend.

Perhaps the marquee player among this weekend’s group is Jairus Jones, a safety from Tampa’s Wharton High School who is listed as a three-star prospect. The 6-foot-1, 205-pounder made an astonishing 188 tackles in 12 games last season while also scoring a dozen touchdowns as a wide re-ceiver. He is the son of James Jones, a former Florida running back who was a No. 1 draft choice of the Detroit Lions in 1983 and had a decent 10-year career in the NFL.

Jones is listed as having “low interest’’ in the Hawkeyes on Rivals.com, but the fact that he is making an official visit is encouraging. He visited Michigan State last weekend and is slated to go to Oklahoma State next weekend. He also has attracted interest from Syracuse, Nebraska, N.C. State and South Florida although he has not made official visits to any of those schools.

Jake the Fighting Bee?

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

So, Jake Christensen is gone … at least after this semester. The question is: Where is he going to go to?

While his father, Jeff, insists there is a possibility the soon-to-be-parted quarterback could have eligibility remaining at a Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) school, the most likely scenario and certainly Jake’s best bet for immediate playing time is at the Football Championship Subdivision (I-AA) level.

The problem is, most of the likely FCS destinations have established quarterbacks coming back next season. Both Northern Iowa and Western Illinois, which have taken their share of Iowa transfers, had good sophomore quarterbacks last season. The popular thought is that Jake might go to Eastern Illinois, where his father played, but even the Panthers have a decent QB coming back in senior Bodie Reeder, a Wyoming transfer who completed 62.8 percent of his passes last season.

The best bet might be Illinois State, which has a vacancy at QB with the graduation of Kevin Brockway.

Or, there’s always St. Ambrose. The Fighting Bees have done very well with transfer quarterbacks through the years. Seriously, that wouldn’t be the worst place for Jake. He will already have his bachelor’s degree from Iowa and could enroll in SAU’s quality MBA program.