Iowa freshman running back Marcus Coker not only played at perennial power DeMatha High School — one of the top high school football programs in Maryland — he also played with perhaps the best offensive lineman in the 2011 high school senior class, 6-foot-6, 322-pound Cyrus Kouandjio.
Coker signed with Iowa last February and now is expected to make his college debut against Ball State on Saturday at Kinnick Stadium.
Kouandjio, on the other hand, has more than four months until he can sign a letter of intent, but it appears he is seriously considering following in Coker’s footsteps, largely because of the influence of Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz.
“Last time we spoke, Iowa was right there,” DeMatha coach Bill McGregor said Wednesday afternoon. “The reason being because of the great job coach Ferentz does with their offensive line.”
Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming ranks Kouandjio the third-best prospect in the country regardless of position.
“He’s got everything,” Lemming said. “He is a prototypical left tackle. Great feet, great technique.
“Barring injury, he’s going to be a dominating player and if he goes to Iowa, I think he’s going to be a No. 1 draft choice.”
There is speculation he will sign with Alabama in order to play with his brother Arie Kouandjio, who is a freshman offensive lineman for the Tide.
However, McGregor said from what he is hearing that it’s wrong to assume that Alabama is the leader for Cyrus Kouandjio at this point.
“What some of the kids are saying I don’t know if Alabama is No. 1 anymore,” McGregor said. “He doesn’t want to go there, I think, maybe because his brother is there.”
McGregor said “absolutely” when asked if he thinks Kouandjio would visit Iowa.
Kouandjio is very much aware of Iowa’s success in developing NFL offensive linemen under Ferentz, who is in his 12th season as head coach.
Robert Gallery, Marshall Yanda and Eric Steinbach all played on the offensive line at Iowa under Ferentz, and now all three are starting offensive linemen in NFL, with the Oakland Raiders, Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns, respectively.
“Iowa players have had great careers at the university and have been able to go on,” McGregor said.
With so many schools recruiting Cyrus Kouandjio — he reportedly has more than 40 scholarship offers — McGregor said they’ve had to set some boundaries in order to limit the distractions.
“Two weeks ago we had a talk; we said, ‘OK, we’re turning everything off,’” McGregor said. “We’ll let you talk on Thursday nights from eight to nine. And basically, don’t take any more phone calls.”
Should Cyrus Kouandjio pick Iowa, he would become the fourth player from Maryland to do so in the past two years.
In addition to Coker, Iowa also signed linebacker Jim Poggi and defensive lineman Anthony Ferguson last February. Poggi and Ferguson both played at the Gilman School in Baltimore and are being redshirted this season.
Ferentz already had a connection to the Baltimore area after having been a former assistant coach with the Baltimore Ravens.
McGregor also has a connection to Iowa offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe. Both attended John Carroll University in Cleveland and are friends.
“We told them we had some players that you might want to take a look at,” McGregor said. “There is such a big population, and there’s so many kids in some of these programs.
“I think Iowa can come into the (Washington) D.C. area every year and take a boy or two.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football