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Three West Des Moines juniors, three scholarship offers

[ 1 ] May 3, 2012 |

The two high schools in West Des Moines – Dowling Catholic and Valley – both have long-standing traditions of success in football.

Valley coach Gary Swenson, who has led the Tigers to five Class 4A state titles since 2002, said both teams are well coached and highly organized, but it’s the players that ultimately make the biggest impact.

“Without players, neither of us are winning state championships, obviously,” Swenson said this week. “You’ve got to have good athletes and we both do at this time.”

Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz apparently agrees.

Ferentz is believed to have offered scholarships to just three high school juniors from in-state at this time and two of them – offensive tackle Jake Campos and defensive lineman Sam Raridon – attend Valley and the other, tight end Jon Wisnieski, attends Dowling Catholic.

“I had no idea that was the case,” said Campos, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound offensive left tackle in the making. “But that’s pretty cool.”

None of the three appear ready to make a decision about college, with the start of the 2013 national signing period still over eight months away for the current junior class.

Iowa received verbal commitments from seven high school juniors during the month of April, but they were all from out of state, although, receiver Derrick Willies attended Burlington High School before transferring in January to Rock Island High School in Illinois.

Campos has sort of put his recruitment on hold while he competes in track and field this spring. He is ranked among the top six in the state in the shot put in Class 4A.

“I’m planning on going out (this summer) and seeing a bunch of campuses and trying to get some looks at schools that have offered me and try to make a decision by the beginning of football season,” Campos said.

Wisnieski is busy gearing up for his junior season in baseball, where he is a standout first baseman.

“I’m basically just talking to some schools right now and calling the coaches on a weekly basis and some of them stop by school, but it’s not super busy right now,” Wisnieski said.

Campos has the most BCS scholarship offers among the three at this point with at least nine according to Scout.com. His offer list in addition to Iowa includes Oregon, Missouri, Purdue, Illinois, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Kansas and Iowa State.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Wisnieski has at least six BCS scholarship offers according to Scout.com. His list of offers includes Iowa State, Nebraska, Kansas State, Mississippi and Purdue.

Raridon’s only BCS offer at this point is from Iowa, according to Scout.com. But he’s being recruited by Oklahoma, Nebraska, Purdue and Wisconsin, among others.

Raridon was also the first among the three to be offered a scholarship by Iowa back in September.

Iowa is recruiting the 6-2, 255-pound Raridon as a defensive tackle, but other schools also like him as an offensive lineman.

“I think he’s being recruited because he’s extremely physical and very strong,” Swenson said of Raridon, whose father, Scott Raridon, played offensive tackle at Nebraska in the early 1980s. “He’ much more developed than Jake is at this point.

“He’s just a really good football player. He’s got the physical part of the game figured out and he embraces that.”

Campos, Raridon and Wisnieski all play positions in which Iowa has excelled at producing all-star talent and future NFL players.

“Their coaching staff is just phenomenal,” Campos said.

Wisnieski is new to the tight end position after playing mostly quarterback up until last season.

“I think people see just his frame and what it could be like as he matures and gets older and really focuses on one (sport),” Dowling coach Tom Wilson said of Wisnieski, who also plays basketball for the Maroons. “He’s a good athlete that runs well. And he’s got great ball skills.

“And the other thing, he’s only been a tight end for a year. He was always a quarterback coming up through our system. And I felt all along that tight end was going to be his position.”

Campos grew up a fan of Drake University because his father played football for the Bulldogs in the mid-1980s and because his mother was a volleyball player at Drake at the same time.

The younger Campos won’t follow in his father’s footsteps to Drake, but Iowa and Iowa State are both high on his list, as is the case with Wisnieski.

“I root for both of the in-state schools because they’re in-state,” Campos said. “But I don’t really have any favorite college teams overall.”

Swenson said he’s always willing to help with the recruiting process, but he wants his players to make their own decisions.

“I think if all three of them would go (to Iowa) the fans would enjoy watching all three of them develop and become good players for Iowa,” Swenson said.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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