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Defensive end commits to Hawkeyes

[ 0 ] July 16, 2013 |

Veteran college football recruiting analyst Tom Lemming has a message for Iowa fans:

“Don’t worry about (scholarship) offers because when you go for athletes, a lot of times their offers come a little bit later, guys that need to fill out and grow.”

Lemming was referring to the Iowa football team’s latest verbal commitment, which came from New Jersey defensive end Terrence Harris on Tuesday.

Iowa is the only team from a BCS conference to offer the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Harris a scholarship. His other offers reportedly came from Florida Atlantic, Massachusetts and Western Michigan, according to Scout.com, while Indiana, North Carolina State, Temple and Rutgers have shown interest.

“A lot of people think he needs to improve his weight and strength,” Lemming said.

Harris attends rising power Paramus Catholic High School in New Jersey and is teammates with two Michigan recruits, including Jabrill Peppers, who plays defensive back and receiver and is considered one of the top prospects in the 2014 senior class. The other Michigan recruit from Paramus Catholic is offensive lineman Juwan Bushell-Beatty.

Lemming has watched Harris on tape and he met him in person while traveling through New Jersey this past spring to evaluate the state’s best high school players.

“I saw him back in March and he’s very athletic,” Lemming said of Harris. “He runs well. And he plays for one of the most talented schools in the country.”

Efforts to reach Harris were unsuccessful, but he explained to HawkeyeInsider.com why he committed to Iowa despite having not visited Iowa City. Harris plans to visit Iowa City in October.

“You just have to follow your heart,” Harris said.

Harris is thought to be at the least the 11th player to commit to Iowa’s 2014 class, all of whom are high school seniors-to-be. He also is the third recruit from the East Coast and the fourth overall in the 2014 class to commit to Iowa before visiting the UI campus. The others are New Jersey linebacker Jameer Outsey, defensive back Omar Truitt from Washington, D.C., and kicker Mick Ellis from Lucas, Texas.

Truitt committed to Iowa on June 3 and then visited Iowa City a few weeks later with his parents.

Outsey committed on June 21, but still hasn’t visited Iowa City, while Ellis committed to Iowa on July 8.

Lemming also spoke highly of the 6-3, 210-pound Outsey in terms of his athleticism. Lemming said Outsey and Harris sort of belong in the same category as recruits.

“What they seem to have in common is that they are able to run and they have frames that will fill out,” Lemming said.

Lemming has noticed a pattern where the Hawkeyes take chances on certain players that other BCS schools choose to overlook, dating back to when Hayden Fry coached at Iowa from 1979 to 1998. Current Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz spent nine seasons coaching the Iowa offensive line under Fry from 1981-89 and now uses many of the same recruiting philosophies.

“Most of the times when they recruit well it’s guys that they find to be fitting into their system that are really athletic,” Lemming said. “Not guys that have a lot of offers.”

Lemming met Outsey in person in March while evaluating the top recruits in New Jersey.

“I remember talking to him about his love of football,” Lemming said of Outsey, who reportedly had one other BCS offer from Pittsburgh. “He seemed to be a guy that really appreciates everything. Those kinds of guys I’ve always liked because those kinds of guys go a lot farther, too, because they appreciate all that stuff.”

New Iowa running backs coach Chris White was the primary recruiter for Harris, Outsey and Truitt.

“He’s just honest and I think a man of his word,” Harris said of White to HawkeyeInsider.com. “I believe him.”

White was one of three new assistants hired by Ferentz since the end of last season. The others are linebackers coach Jim Reid and receivers coach Bobby Kennedy.

White was hired in February and has since been one of the staff’s most productive recruiters, based on commitments. He spent the previous four seasons coaching for the Minnesota Vikings, but he also has extensive experience at the collegiate level, including nine seasons at Syracuse.

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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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