Busy Saturdays Ahead For Barkema Family

The lone remaining Division I prospect within the state's borders had scholarship opportunities from both the Cyclones and Hawkeyes. Muscatine tight end Ben Barkema chose between the rival programs late Thursday morning.

His decision came as a bit of a surprise to all, as the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder announced plans to sign with Iowa State instead of heading to Iowa City and rejoining his brother C.J. Now it appears the biggest decision remaining for the Barkema family is which parent will go where this fall.

"It's tough and that was kind of a factor," Ben Barkema said of the possibilities he could face off against his brother during the state of Iowa's biggest game of the year. "But it's a little different. If I was playing defense or he was playing defense, it could be different because then we could play across the ball from each other. I think one of my parents will go to one game and the other will go to another."

According to Barkema, he was given the opportunity of greyshirting at Iowa and getting a four-year scholarship in 2004, or taking an initial full-ride offer from ISU. He decided to take Cyclone coach Dan McCarney's offer and become one of 27 newcomers for the Class of 2003.

"What (Iowa) told me was I could walk on my first year and then I'd have a scholarship for four years," Barkema said. "I actually called Coach Ferentz today and he said, ‘If we give you a different scenario would you reconsider?' I think they wanted to offer me a little later. I said no to that. Iowa State's going to give me a scholarship from the start.

"(Iowa State) has a great program and we have a great recruiting class coming in. I had a great time on my visit, too. I like Coach (Matt) McGettigan and his weight training. I liked Coach Allen, who will be my position coach. And the players are all real close."

The first-team all-stater by the Iowa Newspaper Association caught 30 passes for more than 400 yards and six touchdowns last fall.

Although Barkema is the third tight end in ISU's recruiting class, he still enters a fairly good situation, since the depth chart is somewhat diminished by the loss of Kyle Knock to graduation, leaving only three junior tight ends remain in the mix.

"I think I fit in pretty well, because they run double tights," Barkema said. "They got another tight end from California, who was in the same weekend as me. Right now they only have three junior tight ends. Looking at when I'm a sophomore, maybe there's an opportunity."

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