Legacy Keppy a Hawk

Mitch Keppy, a 2012 lineman from Riverdale High in Port Byron, Ill., has verbally committed to Iowa. It's the realization of a childhood dream.

Mitch Keppy's grandfather takes time out of his busy fall farming schedule to attend Iowa home football games. He's made the short trip from Durant to Iowa City since he first bought season tickets to watch Myron Keppy, Mitch's dad, play for the Hawkeyes in the mid-1980s.

"He's got a great parking spot," Myron said. "He just pulls right up there to outside Kinnick (Stadium). It's one of the first spots."

Myron's father now can go watch his grandson play. Mitch is the first verbal commitment in Iowa's Class of 2012, having picked Iowa after the school offered on Wednesday.

"When I talked to Coach (Kirk) Ferentz, he told me I was the first commitment (for '12)," Mitch Keppy said. "I thought that was really cool. He said that they needed a couple of linemen in this class and now that they got me they could cross one off of the list."

The young Keppy plays for Riverdale High in Port Byron Illinois, which is located in the Quad Cities area around the Iowa-Illinois border and the Mississippi River. Mitch's mother hails from the Garner, IA area.

"This is a pretty big deal for me and my family," Mitch said. "I grew up going to Iowa games and always dreamed about playing for the Hawkeyes. Those were the guys I looked up to. I knew if I ever got a chance to play at Iowa, that would be where I'd be going."

Iowa was the first school to offer a scholarship to Mitch. He recently visited Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois and Northern Illinois.

"They were great trips, but I knew where I wanted to play," Mitch said.

The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Keppy also has put together a successful wrestling career at Riverdale, where Myron has been the coach since '94. Mitch lost in the Class 1A championship round in February.

"Wrestling definitely has helped me with football," Mitch said. "It's great for flexibility and competition. I think the sports go hand-in-hand . They make you tougher and a better person."

Mitch plays on both sides of the ball for Riverdale but he's being recruited by Iowa as an offensive lineman.

"I think I'm much better suited for offense," he said. "I play tackle in high school, but that's also because we're a small school and I'm the biggest guy. I'm not sure if I'll be a tackle or a guard in college. We'll have to see."

Keppy said that toughness, competitiveness and flexibility are his best assets on the football field. He'd like to improve his strength, conditioning and technique.

"Iowa is big on that," he said. "I need to work on the technique if I want to be a good offensive lineman."

Keppy has been building a relationship with the Iowa coaches for some time. He has camped at the school a few times.

"Whenever I went to the camps, I thought about my goal to play there," he said. "I've always been a diehard fan. It's cool to know I'm going to be a part of it now."

The Iowa coaches are restricted from speaking about Keppy until he signs a national letter of intent with the program in February.

"We're really proud," Myron said. "He always wanted to be a Hawkeye since he started playing when he was real young. He's worked really, really hard to make it happen."

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