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Signing day: Wisnieski loyal to Iowa despite family’s ISU ties

[ 0 ] February 5, 2013 |

He’s a Hawk who’s surrounded by a bunch of Cyclones and that’s all right. It’s what Jon Wisnieski wanted.

The tight end from West Des Moines Dowling Catholic could have taken the route his family members took in attending Iowa State.

He could have chosen Nebraska, Kansas State, Mississippi or Purdue, among others, also, but he’s heading east to be one of about 20 recruits from the class of 2013 expected to sign national letters of intent Wednesday.

In his case, it’s a first-come, first served situation.

“Iowa was on me before anyone else was,” Wisnieski said. “I felt an immediate connection.”

Jon Wisnieski of West Des Moines Dowling Catholic plans to sign with the Iowa football team on Wednesday. (Register file photo)

Jon Wisnieski of West Des Moines Dowling Catholic plans to sign with the Iowa football team on Wednesday. (Register file photo)

He made an unofficial visit to Notre Dame, and yes, he saw linebacker Manti Te’o, who has been in the news recently for mourning a dead girl friend that didn’t exist.

“I saw him up close, but that’s about it,” he said. “As far as the other stuff, how bizarre …”

Wisnieski was recruited as a tight end, and that’s where he figures he’ll end up whenever he first steps onto Kinnick Stadium for something other than practice.

“I don’t see changing positions happening,” the 6-foot-5, 215-pound Wisnieski said, “unless I start putting on a lot of weight.”

He’s as comfortable at tight end as he is with his decision to join a program that won just 11 of 25 games the past two seasons.

“There’s going to be good years and bad years,” Wisnieski said. “People have to realize that tough times are not going to last.

“It wasn’t fun watching them go 4-8 last year, but I’m encouraged where things are headed. Things are stable.

“I have no doubt that we’ll be able to get back to where we’ve been.”

Iowa is trying to reverse the downward trend with new tight ends coach D.J. Hernandez.

“I don’t know him well, but I know that his brother plays for the Patriots,” Wisnieski said.

That’s Aaron Hernandez, who in 2011 was coached by Brian Ferentz, Iowa’s offensive line coach and Kirk Ferentz’s oldest son.

While Wisnieski knows who his position coach will be, he hasn’t a clue who will throw him passes when the day comes that he plays.

Senior James Vandenberg took every snap past season, which means the Hawkeyes will have a first-time college starter in the season opener Aug. 31 against Northern Illinois at Kinnick Stadium.

“They don’t tell me those things,” Wisnieski said with a chuckle.

It could be C.J. Beathard. It could be Cody Sokol. Jake Rudock is in the mix, too, but starter aside, will the offense be more wide open?

“As far as I know, it’s going to be the same offense,” Wisnieski said, “but they haven’t talked to me a lot about that, either.”

What he knows, however, is that eventually, he will play against the Hawkeyes’ state rival — for which his father once played baseball, where his mother once attended, and where his sister goes now.

“My sister — she gives me a little (ribbing) every once in a while,” Wisnieski said, “but it’s nothing major. I can handle it, and to be honest, I liked watching Iowa State play games.

“If they played Iowa in any sporting event, I’d usually root for Iowa State.”

Starting Wednesday, that officially will change.

PHOTO GALLERY: Take a look at Iowa’s incoming recruits

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Randy Peterson: Randy Peterson covers college football, college basketball and the Iowa Cubs for the Des Moines Register. Randy can be reached at randypeterson@dmreg.com or on Twitter via @RandyPete View author profile.

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