The Cyclones were the first to offer 6-foot-4, 235-pound tight end/defensive end Trent Flander in early December, their first such offer to a player within the state's borders. But Iowa, Notre Dame and Indiana are hot on Flander's trail and could step up their recruiting of him in the near future.
"I'd say the ones that have expressed the most interest are Iowa State with their offer, along with Iowa, Notre Dame and Indiana that have come on strong in the last month," said Dowling head coach Matt Dillon. "I'd be shocked if he didn't have some more offers shortly."
Flander put up solid numbers on both sides of the ball as a junior and earned himself all-conference recognition as a tight end. He may have caught only 15 passes last season, but six of them went for touchdowns. He has more than held his own as a defensive end – ranking third on the team in tackles and second in sacks last fall – but Dillon says potential pours out of Flander as a tight end.
"He's got incredible upside as a tight end, because you just don't find kids that are physical, can catch the football and run like he can. I think he'll be on the offensive side (at the next level), but it wouldn't shock me to see him try to play defensive end for somebody. It just depends on what they want to do with him. Iowa State didn't really label a position on him, but I'm assuming they're recruiting him as a tight end."
Dillon also praises Flander's work in the effort category, but says consistency will be a main focus as Flander plays out his high school career this fall.
"(The Iowa State coaches)) like the intensity he plays with," Dillon said. "He's got a high motor. You watch him play on the basketball floor and he brings a lot of that same intensity but it sometimes gets him in foul trouble. He's just a high-motor guy that plays hard and is physical.
"But there were times where it appeared he took a play off. We've got to eliminate those plays. He's got to play hard on every down. I want him to become more of a presence in our pass offense. He's got to become our go-to receiver. Hopefully his statistics will reflect that. If we can get those things out of him, he should not only be an all-state guy, but an All-American guy."
How soon could Flander end his recruiting process and commit to a Division I program? Dillon says it probably won't happen for several more months.
"I told him before he makes any decisions, the first thing he needs to do is go watch the schools that are most interested in you practice in the spring," the Dowling head coach said. "That way he can see the type of coaching that you're seeing on the field is what he's looking for. Then he needs to go to their camps in the summer to see if that's the environment you want to put yourself in."
According to Dillon, Flander will most likely attend summer camps at ISU, Iowa and Notre Dame.