George Kittle left for school Wednesday morning hoping for a call. He wore an Iowa T-shirt under his flannel shirt just in case.
Signing day at Norman (Okla.) High School came and went for two of his teammates. But at about 10 a.m., his high school coach called him out of class. With his parents and coach by his side, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz called and offered Kittle a football scholarship.
It was the call that Kittle had been waiting for.
“He just said, ‘I’m glad it worked out the way it should,’” Kittle said. “They had two guys they had offers to, and if neither one (accepted), then I would have a scholarship. Neither of them went so I got the scholarship.
“He said, ‘I can’t wait to bring you into the family because I know you belong here and it’s been one of your dreams, and I’m happy we can help you fulfill that.’”
“Our whole family is thrilled and thankful that Kirk believed in George,” said Jan Krieger, Kittle’s mother. “How cool is it? George grew up dreaming of being a Hawkeye.”
Kittle’s father, Bruce, is an assistant coach at Oklahoma and was a former star and assistant at Iowa. The family has been in Oklahoma two years, and George’s sister, Emma, plays on the OU volleyball team. Emma is a West High graduate, and George played football at West and started as a sophomore before the move.
Kittle’s large, extended family, primarily on the Krieger side, has many ties to Iowa athletics from cousins Jess Settles (basketball), Brad Carlson (baseball) and Henry Krieger-Coble, to his aunt Amy (Henry’s mother), a UI softball player. Emma played one year of volleyball at Iowa. His grandfather, Bub Krieger, was briefly on the Iowa football team during the Ironman era before leaving for Iowa Wesleyan to be closer to the family farm.
“As a parent I’m so thrilled for him,” Jan said. “My whole family is there. He has so many friends there in the community and family. It’s peace of mind for me, too.”
The family has known Ferentz and many of his staff for years. George had been to Iowa’s camps the last two years.
After the Insight Bowl in which Oklahoma defeated Iowa, the Iowa coaches called Kittle weekly to assure him of their interest.
Kittle is 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, according to Jan. He played wide receiver and free safety at Norman High. Norman was a combined 15-7 the last two seasons.
“Kirk said don’t worry about what position you’re going to play,” Jan said. “Most people are saying outside linebacker or tight end.”
“I’m extremely flexible,” George said. “I don’t care where I play as long as I’m out on the field.”
Kittle is also a fine basketball player, something near to his mother’s heart. Jan is an Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Famer in basketball and softball.
George was offered scholarships by Air Force, Navy and Weber State. He scored six touchdowns and had 370 yards in receptions as a senior.
“Living in Iowa almost my entire life, going to all the football games, it’s always been a dream of mine to follow in my dad’s footsteps, and now that my cousin is there I couldn’t paint a better picture of how perfect my college experience could go for me,” George said. “With all my friends there that I left two years ago, now I can go back and see most of them. I’m living the good life right now.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football