Unlike the Big Ten football race where each team knows exactly where it stands, recruiting is more subjective and open for debate.
But in each case, the Iowa Hawkeyes appear headed for an upper-division finish in the conference.
Iowa is one of four Big Ten teams with just one conference loss heading into Saturday’s game against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill.
And Iowa’s 2011 recruiting class is ranked in the upper half of the Big Ten by at least two recruiting analysts.
“I would say probably second or third,” veteran recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said Wednesday of Iowa’s current ranking in the Big Ten. “Ohio State is on top and either Michigan or Iowa is two or three.”
Lemming also ranks Iowa’s class, which currently has 16 verbal commitments, in the top-20 nationally at this stage.
He credits the success on the recruiting trail largely to Iowa’s success on the field. Iowa has a 27-8 since the start of the 2008 season and has won back-to-back bowl games in Florida, including defeating Georgia Tech in the 2010 Orange Bowl, earning the school’s first BCS bowl victory.
“It’s very athletic at every single position,” Lemming said of Iowa’s class. “Because of their success they’ve been feeding off of that and their name has been bounced around, particularly everywhere east of the Mississippi (River).”
Alan Trieu, who is the Midwest recruiting manager for Scout.com., currently ranks Iowa’s class fifth in the Big Ten.
Trieu has Ohio State’s class ranked first in the Big Ten by a wide margin at this point followed by Michigan State, Wisconsin, Michigan and Iowa.
Scout.com uses a formula that awards points based partly on the number of prospects in each class, meaning more is better.
That gives Ohio State and Wisconsin an edge over Iowa because they both have 18 recruits in their class, which is two more than Iowa has at this stage.
“The fact that (Iowa) has a lower number of commitments effects it,” Trieu said. “But this will move a lot between now and signing day.
“Wisconsin and Michigan are both third and fourth and they’re separated from Iowa by less than one hundred points.”
Trieu said he expects Iowa’s class to rise in the standings, but not just by adding more players.
Three players that already are committed to Iowa ultimately could earn another star from Scout.com, according to Trieu. The players are running back Melvin Gordon from Kenosha, Wis., receiver Austin Vincent from DeSoto, Texas and linebacker Mike Orloff from Danvers, Mass.
“If those guys move up and they pick up a couple of guys to fill out the class, they look like they’re in position to move a little higher,” Trieu said.
The Iowa coaches still have almost three months to fill out the class with the national signing day scheduled for Feb. 2.
Iowa’s class is expected to reach somewhere in the mid-20s by signing day with regard to number of prospects.
Some big names that are still considering Iowa include five-star offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio from DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md., and four-star running back Rodney Coe from Edwardsville, Ill.
Coe has scheduled an official visit to Illinois for this coming weekend and to Iowa the following weekend. He is expected to attend Iowa’s game against Ohio State game on Nov. 20 at Kinnick Stadium.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder also will visit Kansas in early December and also wants to visit Kansas State and Arkansas before making his decision.
“He’s the kind of physical back that seems to do well at Iowa,” Trieu said of Coe.
Iowa is involved with several top prospects from Pennsylvania, including high school teammates Branden Jackson and Delvon Simmons from McKeesport, Pa.
Jackson is considered one of the top outside linebackers in the 2011 senior class, and likewise for Simmons as a defensive lineman.
They both visited Iowa together in October, and according to their high school coach, are considering playing together in college.
Jackson and Simmons also visited Oregon together this past weekend.
Iowa is among the four finalists to land four-star lineman and Michigan native Anthony Zettel, along with Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.
However, Trieu thinks Iowa is a long shot in this case.
“They’re in the game with him, but I wouldn’t hold my breath if I were Iowa,” Trieu said of landing Zettel. “He seems to be a kid that’s going to lean towards staying in state with Michigan and Michigan State.”
Closer to home finds Iowa in a three-team race with Oregon and Notre Dame to land Cedar Rapids Kennedy senior Christian French, who is considered the top senior from instate.
The 6-6, 230-pound French is listed as an athlete, although, Iowa is recruiting him more as a receiver.
“I think he’s able to create mismatches,” Trieu said. “He’s a big, athletic kid. I don’t think he’s physical. He’s a basketball player playing football right now.”
As for the players already in Iowa’s class, Trieu speaks highly of offensive lineman Jordan Walsh, who is from the Chicago suburb of Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Walsh is ranked as a four-star prospect by Scout.com and the No. 2 offensive guard in the country.
“I had a chance to go see Jordan Walsh earlier this year and it was one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen from an offensive lineman the last few years,” Trieu said. “He’s outstanding.
“He’s the number two guard in the country, but I could probably make a case for him to be number one. He was excellent. He’s going to be exactly the kind of guy that fits at Iowa.”
Trieu isn’t as familiar with Iowa quarterback recruit and Florida native Jacob Rudock, although, Trieu thinks Rudock will benefit from having played for perennial power St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“He’s played a lot of minutes for a real good program,” Trieu said. “And from what I understand from talking to our Florida guys, he’s the kind of kid that is going to come in college ready.”
Iowa already has received a verbal commitment from another top instate player in Williamsburg offensive lineman Austin Blythe.
Blythe is also a celebrated heavyweight wrestler, which Trieu thinks will help him as an offensive lineman in college.
“Those guys know how to use their hands and they understand leverage,” Trieu said of wrestlers. “They’re usually, and in this case he is, very strong.
“All those things are usually things kids have to learn when they get to college.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football