LA PORTE CITY, Ia. — Reading defenses is a snap for Jay Scheel.
It’s reading between the lines that’s a problem.
Scheel, a football standout for Union Community High School, verbally committed to Iowa more than a year ago, and was among 21 recruits to sign a national letter of intent with the Hawkeyes today.
“I always wanted to be there,” Scheel said. “I’m excited about it.”
The multi-skilled prospect, who actually grew up in the tiny town of Mount Auburn, seemed destined to play for Iowa.
But after meeting with coach Kirk Ferentz in 2012, Scheel still wasn’t sure where he stood.
All Ferentz told him was, “I’m going to do whatever I can to make you a Hawkeye football player.”
“I was confused,” Scheel said with a grin.
It took a follow-up call from assistant coach Reese Morgan to clarify.
“He was like, ‘You know, you have an offer,’’” Scheel recalled. “I was like, ‘What?’ I didn’t know that at all.
“I was really excited, jumping around.”
It didn’t take the 6-foot-1, 170-pound Scheel long to accept, giving the Hawkeyes a four-star recruit who could fill a variety of needs.
“Jay is kind of like a blank canvas,” said Rob Howe, of HawkeyeInsider.com. “He’s got such athletic ability that you can envision him at several different positions.”
For now, Scheel is being pegged as a receiver.
“They told me I could play whatever I wanted,” he said. “It’s not like a huge deal. Whatever they want me to do is what I want to do.”
Scheel was a dual-threat quarterback for Union, completing nearly 55 percent of his passes last fall for 1,650 yards and 18 touchdowns.
He also ran for 493 yards and seven touchdowns.
“He’s got huge hands,” Union coach Joe Hadachek said. “He’d take a bad (shotgun) snap from the center and make it look extremely easy. He’s like a shortstop fielding balls.
“The other thing Jay has is the ability to switch gears. He can take it from third to fourth, shift and get out of there and make people miss.
“Everybody is looking for that type of player out there,” Hadachek added, “and Jay can do that.”
If Scheel does become a pass-catching target, he be following the path of former prep quarterbacks such as Marvin McNutt and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, who starred for Ferentz’s Hawkeyes.
“Every person is different,” Scheel said. “I’m not set to be as good as them, but maybe I could be. I’m always going to try to be.”
With a polite, easy-going manner, Scheel carries himself like a Ferentz-type player.
“He’s not a guy who wants this type of attention,” Hadachek said. “He’s not the guy who wants a mic in his face after a game, but he handles it really well. Very humble.
“He handles all the pressure of recruiting extremely well.”
Scheel is expected to join the Hawkeyes in August after participating in the Shrine Bowl.
His spent the past few weeks recovering from knee surgery.
The patella tendon in his left knee was repaired. A bone chip was removed from his right.
“One of the most athletic players, most versatile players in the Midwest,” said Josh Helmholdt, a recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. ”He has both good size and outstanding speed.”
That combination makes Scheel one Iowa’s most intriguing signees.
“I think he’s one of the sleepers in this class,” Howe said. “He’s a kid who has the raw skills and the raw athletic ability to have a really high ceiling.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds for Jay Scheel.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football