The future always becomes a popular topic whenever the Iowa football team is struggling.
Fans want to know if help is on the way, if the next recruiting class might have some players ready to contribute at positions of need.
They want to know how Iowa’s recruiting class stacks up against the other 11 Big Ten teams. They want to know where the perceived strengths and weaknesses are in Iowa’s 2013 class, which has 15 players committed.
There used to be 16 players in the class until four-star defensive end David Kenney switched his commitment from Iowa to Indiana. It was a blow losing arguably the most decorated player in Iowa’s 2013 class, but hardly a surprise with Kenney’s father being a member of Kevin Wilson’s football staff at Indiana.
It should have no impact on Saturday’s game between Iowa (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten) and Indiana (3-5, 1-3) because it’s unlikely that Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz would use Kenney’s defection as a rallying cry. Ferentz has more pressing concerns to focus on, like trying to save the 2012 season.
Ferentz seemed a little agitated when asked this week if Iowa’s high rate of attrition impacts his program compared to other programs.
“Attrition is college football,” Ferentz said. “There is ebb and flow in college football. If it can happen at some of the quote brand-name schools, it is going to happen everywhere.
“All that being said, the season isn’t over yet. We haven’t written it off. We still intend on playing four games as hard as we can.”
Recruiting is always a concern, though, because nothing is official until the prospects sign a letter of intent each February.
A report surfaced Thursday that the coaches at Louisiana State University want Iowa defensive back recruit and Detroit native Delano Hill to visit their campus. Hill is the only four-star recruit in Iowa’s 2013 class, so losing him would also be a blow, at least on paper, but it probably wouldn’t have much impact next season.
Iowa’s class is ranked 40th nationally by Scout.com and seventh highest amongst the Big Ten teams. That’s typical for Iowa, although the Big Ten ranking is slightly lower than it’s been recently.
Michigan’s 2013 recruiting class is ranked first nationally by Scout.com and Ohio State’s class is ranked eighth. Nebraska has the Big Ten’s next highest-ranked class, although, it drops all the way to No. 27 nationally.
Fans hoping that Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class will help to provide a quick fix on the field next fall probably will be disappointed. Every member of the 2013 class is a high school senior. And outside of former running back Brandon Wegher, it’s extremely rare for a true freshman to make a significant contribution at Iowa.
There are several speedy skill players in the 2013 class, including St. Louis natives Derrick Mitchell Jr. and Andre Harris. The class also has one quarterback with pro-style prospect Nic Shimonek, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound native of Corsicana, Texas, commiting to Iowa in May.
But again, the transition from playing high school football to playing in the Big Ten usually takes time and patience, especially for a quarterback.
Iowa has used seven true freshmen this season, but none, with exception to punter Connor Kornbrath, have made a significant contribution. And his contribution hasn’t always been positive as evidenced by Kornbrath’s 36.7 punting average, which is among the worst in the Big Ten.
Ferentz hasn’t made a habit of recruiting junior college players, but if ever there was a time to break from that tradition, it would seem to be now. A ready-to-order defensive end, a speedy receiver and a dual-threat quarterback from the junior college ranks would sure look good on Iowa’s 2013 roster.
Of course, that’s easier said than done.
But what’s strange is Ferentz’s reluctance to recruit junior college players despite him usually hitting his target.
From Brad Banks to Derrick Pickens to Marshal Yanda, Iowa’s success with recruiting junior college players under Ferentz hardly is a fluke and is reason to keep doing it.
It was hardly a revelation when new offensive coordinator Greg Davis told the media shortly after being hired that Iowa needed more speed at the receiver positions. It was just strange hearing a member of the Iowa staff say it publicly.
Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class appears to be addressing the speed issue with prospects such as the aforementioned Mitchell and Harris, who are considered fast and quick by BCS standards.
But it’s naïve to assume the pair, or even one of them, would be ready to contribute significantly as true freshman next fall.
Barring the addition of some junior college players to the 2013 recruiting class, Iowa’s success next season will depend almost exclusively on the returning players.
So maybe it’s not worth thinking about the future right now.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football