It was the late 1970s when Ken O'Keefe and Kirk Ferentz were cutting their teeth in high school football. Few people probably expected them to be where they are today, coaching Iowa through one of its most successful eras in more than 100 years of the program.
Ferentz, the Hawkeye head coach, and his offensive coordinator, Ken O'Keefe, remain royalty to a degree back at Worcester (MA) Academy. They're calling on that reputation in hopes of landing a standout from that school in the 2012 Class.
"Coach O'Keefe was back her last Saturday for a reunion," Wide Receiver Canaan Severin said. "It's kind of cool to think that they coached here at one time. I definitely like Iowa a lot."
O'Keefe was the head man and Ferentz his offensive line coach in their Worcester days.
Severin, a Scout.com three-star recruit, holds 10 scholarship offers, including one from the Hawkeyes. Boston College (first offer), N.C. State, Penn State, Rutgers, Syracuse and Virginia are among the other schools to have presented an opportunity to the 6-foot-4, 210-pounder.
"Right now, I would say they're all even," Severin said. "I really want to get out to see the schools to see which ones I like. My coach tells me that the coaches do this (recruiting) for a living and are good at it. I do it for two years, so I want to make sure I get to see everything and compare the schools."
Iowa is one school Canaan expects to check out.
"I talked to Coach O'Keefe about it," he said. "I'm coming out in June, I think the 16th. I'm definitely real high on the Hawkeyes. They compete in one of the top leagues in the country. Every week is like a championship game in the Big Ten."
Besides O'Keefe and Ferentz, Canaan has other connections to Iowa. He's friends with Class of '11 recruit and fellow wide receiver, Marcus Grant, and also Melsahn Basabe, a standout freshman on the Hawkeye basketball team last winter. Grant and Basabe both attended prep school in Massachusetts.
"Marcus actually gave me a tour of Lawrence (Academy) when I was looking at schools," Severin said. "I played basketball with Melsahn and the guys."
O'Keefe is selling Severin on the extreme exposure of Iowa football. With no pro sports, the Hawkeyes get a lot of attention.
"If you're on the football team, everyone knows you," Severin said. "They know your name. I like that because it keeps you straight. If you mess up, everyone is going to know about it.
"With great talent comes great responsibility. I like that. One of the common things I hear about Iowa is how great the people are and everyone is so nice. I think I can fit into that."
It looks like it will be a busy summer for Severin. Next week, he will head to Stanford for a camp. At the end of the month, he'll travel to Virginia, Maryland and N.C. State. After the Iowa visit, he'll go see Penn State and Syracuse.
"I'm probably going to make my decision after the season," Severin said. "I think I'll need the time to think about everything. If I see something this summer that I absolutely fall in love with, then I might decide. I'm thinking I'll decide by the end of November."
As a junior, Severin caught 35 passes for 550 yards and five touchdowns. He had five interceptions on defense as a safety. Severin hauled in 30 balls for 450 yards and five scores to go with three interceptions as a sophomore.
"This is the first year I've run track and I think it's really helping me," said Severin, who competes in the 4x100 and the 200. "I'm starting to run faster routes. I'm probably going to be a possession receiver. I see myself turning into a legit college wide receiver, though."