With only a couple days left in the Iowa football team’s regular season, the recruiting season is about to take center stage.
It’s a season that never ends, but from December until the national signing day in early February, it becomes an even bigger priority.
Iowa has received verbal commitments from at least 16 recruits, all of whom are high school seniors. However, reports surfaced Wednesday that Melvin Gordon from Kenosha, Wis., may have de-committed with the Hawkeyes, intending to sign with the Badgers instead.
It’s hard to say exactly how many more players will be added to the class because the circumstances with regard to availability of scholarships can change between now and the national signing day.
Iowa is still in on a number of high-profile prospects, including an offensive lineman from Maryland that many feel is the best in the country at his position, a local star from Cedar Rapids whose rare talent has scouts raving about his upside and two high school teammates from western Pennsylvania that both star on defense.
NCAA rules prohibit the Iowa coaches from talking about a specific recruit before the recruit has signed a national letter of intent, so it’s impossible to know which players Iowa most covets.
But it’s probably safe to assume that 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandjio from DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Md., is near the top of the list.
Kouandjio recently identified his top five schools and had Iowa among them, along with Alabama, where his brother now plays, Miami (Fla.), Southern California and New Mexico.
“Landing a player of this magnitude would help on the field and could help in opening more recruiting doors,” said Rob Howe, publisher of Hawkeye Insider.com, which covers Iowa football recruiting.
Howe’s top five wish list starts with Kouandjio, as does Tom Kakert’s list. Kakert runs another Iowa recruiting web site called Hawkeyereport.com.
He and Howe both have four of the same players in their top five, but in different order with exception to Kouandjio, who attends the same high school that produced current Iowa freshman running back Marcus Coker.
“It’s not a true wish list unless you are shooting for the stars, which is exactly what Kouandjio is as one of the most highly recruited prospects in the nation,” Kakert said.
Kakert and Howe both have Cedar Rapids Kennedy senior Christian French on their list at No. 3 and No. 5, respectively.
The 6-6, 230-pound French has narrowed his list to Iowa, Oregon and Notre Dame. Iowa is recruiting him as a receiver, whereas Oregon and Notre Dame reportedly like him at tight end and linebacker, respectively.
“A lot of the interest is based on potential,” Howe said. “But you’d like to develop it from a kid that lives 20 minutes from campus rather than have him at Notre Dame or Oregon.”
The other two players to make both lists are 6-3, 230-pound running back Rodney Coe from Edwardsville, Ill., and defensive lineman Delvon Simmons from McKeesport, Pa.
Howe ranks Coe third on his list, which is one spot higher than Kakert has Coe on his list.
“The deep stable of running backs has thinned considerably at Iowa,” Howe said. “This kid will be physically ready to play from day one.”
Howe ranks Simmons second on his list, whereas Kakert has Simmons fifth on his list.
“It’s tough to land top-flight defensive tackles,” Howe said.
Howe also has Simmons’ high school teammate, linebacker Branden Jackson, fourth on his list. Simmons and Jackson both visited the UI campus together in October and have expressed interest in playing together in college.
They also visited Oregon together earlier this month.
Kakert doesn’t have Jackson on his list, but instead he has Michigan two-way lineman Anthony Zettel second on his list.
“There is little doubt that Zettel is one of the top linemen in country,” Kakert said. “The only question is on which side of the ball?”
All of the players on both lists except for Kouandjio already have visited the Iowa campus, some more than once.
Coe and Zettel both took their officials visits to Iowa City last weekend. Coe also has visited Illinois and is expected to visit Kansas, Kansas State and Arkansas before deciding.
Zettel is expected to choose between Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football