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Potential recruits will fill Kinnick for Penn St. game

[ 0 ] October 18, 2012 |

Recruiting is often described as a never-ending process, and that’ll be apparent Saturday night under the lights at Kinnick Stadium.

Reports are that as many as 30 high school recruits are expected to attend the Iowa-Penn State game. The group will include a handful of seniors who already have committed to Iowa and at least 10 juniors and possibly two or three sophomores.

Leading the junior class is Cedar Falls offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher, who in addition to Iowa also has scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Wisconsin, among others. Pierschbacher is ranked as a four-star recruit by Scout.com and is considered one of the top junior offensive linemen nationally.

“They’ll be more offers coming for him, too,” said Rob Howe, who is publisher of Hawkeye Insider.com, which focuses primarily on Iowa football and men’s basketball recruiting. “He is only a junior. He still doesn’t sign until a year from (this coming) February.

“I don’t think he’ll wait that long to commit. But I could see him waiting until the summer to commit. And that’s what, 10 months (away)?”

Iowa currently has 15 players committed to the 2013 class, but none are running backs. That could change with Michigan native Berkley Edwards scheduled to visit this weekend.

Edwards already has taken official visits to Minnesota and California and is expected to choose between those two schools and Iowa.

“Unless somebody else comes into the picture, this Iowa visit is probably going to be his last visit and then he told me he’d make a decision at the end of the month,” Howe said of Edwards.

Iowa lost a recruit from the 2013 class when defensive end David Kenney de-committed last week. The Indianapolis native was one of two four-star recruits in Iowa’s class, with defensive back Delano Hill from Detroit being the other.

However, Kenney’s father is also a member of the football staff at Indiana and there is growing speculation that the younger Kenney ultimately will choose to play for the Hoosiers.

Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class filled up faster than usual with most of the players committing in the spring and summer. That’s largely a sign of the times with more coaches, including Ferentz, offering scholarships earlier in the process.

Ferentz knew he’d be at risk of losing some recruits to other schools before the national signing day in February, especially one whose father works at another Big Ten school.

“Oh, yeah, that’s going to come with that territory,” Ferentz said at his weekly news gathering Tuesday. “It’s the same old thing. It’s one thing to hold hands and say, ‘I like you.’ But it’s another to walk up to that altar and say, ‘I love you.’

“That’s recruiting. It’s a sign of the times. And if someone’s dad works at an institution, as you might imagine we expected this could be a possibility, not to get specific about anything.”

Ferentz is prohibited by NCAA rules from talking about a specific recruit before the recruit has signed a national letter of intent.

Almost all of the players who are expected to attend Saturday’s game live in the Midwest, which is partly because of timing and because the Iowa coaches have placed more emphasis on recruiting in the bordering states and in Ohio.

Most of the recruits visiting this weekend will do so in an unofficial capacity, meaning they have to pay their own travel expenses as opposed to taking an official visit.

It is thought that only two of the visitors this weekend — Edwards and 2013 linebacker John Kenny from Indiana — will be taking official visits.

“They have somewhere in the neighborhood of seven or eight guys that have already verbally committed (to Iowa), that are going to wait until January to take their official visits,” Howe said. “But I think that’s a component of what kids are doing all over the country.

“So if they’re looking at a kid in New Jersey or Texas, those kids are waiting until after the season, too, to take their official visits. If you’re not taking an official visit and you’re from Texas or New Jersey, it’s going to take a lot of money for a plane ticket or a long car ride.”

Iowa’s 2013 class currently has three recruits from Ohio and Iowa, two from Illinois and Missouri and one each from Minnesota, Indiana, Nebraska, Michigan and Texas.

The plan now is to recruit more in Texas in order to take advantage of Greg Davis’ connections to the Lone Star State. Iowa’s first-year offensive coordinator was born and raised in Texas and Davis also served as the offensive coordinator at Texas under Mack Brown for 13 seasons from 1998 to 2010.

Davis was largely responsible for getting 6-foot-4, 205-pound quarterback Nic Shimonek, who is from Corsicana, Texas, to commit to Iowa in May.

First-year Iowa linebacker coach and former Hawkeye LeVar Woods also recruits in Texas.

Iowa still recruits some on the East Coast. However, that effort used to be led by former Iowa offensive coordinator and current Miami Dolphins receivers coach Ken O’Keefe, who is a Connecticut native.

“With O’Keefe going to the Dolphins, he was pretty much the Connecticut, Pennsylvania and New England guy,” Howe said. “So other than (Kirk) Ferentz himself, there aren’t a lot of connections there and it seems like Brian (Ferentz) is more comfortable (recruiting) in Ohio.”

Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or pharty@press-citizen.com.

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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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