Iowa CITY, Iowa - With national signing day less than three weeks away, it's a mad dash to the finish line for college football programs around the country. You can throw Iowa into that pool.
The Hawkeyes hold 18 known verbal commitments heading towards the Feb. 1 date to first receive letters of intent from incoming recruits. It's hard to say what their total number will be in the 2012 class, but low to mid 20s is a logical guess.
Iowa landed six commitments from Jan. 31 on last year. That group included four-star defensive tackle Darian Cooper, three-star defensive back Jordan Lomax (who had verballed to Maryland) and under-the-radar running back Jordan Canzeri (Villanova verbal).
Let's take a closer look at how things might end up for Iowa in the next few weeks:
There could be a high school signal caller (Hayden Northern, Eric Williams, Austin Lommen, etc) to get a late offer, but it's more likely Iowa sits with JUCO commitment Cody Sokol and goes hard after a top prep QB in the '13 class.
Four-star Greg Garmon from Erie, PA, was a great catch for the Hawkeyes, but he only replaces one of the departed players. Plus, Iowa was going to take a running back, anyway, in this class, so its really down two guys at the spot.
The top target on Iowa's board, Upstate New York's Akeel Lynch, will be officially visiting Oklahoma and Penn State in the next few weeks. Even though good friend Tevaun Smith is a Hawkeye verbal, the competition for this prospect is very tough.
The Hawkeyes probably are turning over other rocks at this point in search of a prospect at a very important position in their offense.
Wide Receiver - Iowa has received commitments from three players - Cameron Wilson, Tevaun Smith and Greg Mabin - at this position to date. The Hawkeyes graduated quite a lot of talent at the spot in the last two years, probably putting them in need of a fourth guy here if the right one agrees to come to town.
Maryland's Ian Thomas is scheduled to be in Iowa City for an official visit next weekend. Connecticut's Malik Golden is reconsidering his Penn State commitment. If Iowa misses on not of these guys, it probably holds at three here.
Tight End - The Hawkeyes took a run at Minnesota's Will Johnson (West Virginia verbal) in the fall, but didn't pursue him with the vigor they had with players at this position in the past. They brought in a lot of talent in last year's class and they'll likely stand pat here or bring in a walk-on or two.
Offensive Line - The Hawkeyes landed Iowa Western C/G Eric Simmons on Thursday shortly after extending him a scholarship offer. That probably meant their done at the position unless they grab a marquee name left on their board.
Colorado's Alex Kozan and Joe O'Conner are high up the list. The competition is very stiff with both of them. The Hawkeyes probably stand a better chance with Kozan than they do with O'Conner, who could head to Ohio State after de-committing from Penn State.
Defensive Line - It is, without question, the biggest area of need in this year's class. Iowa is doing well so far with two four-star players from Chicago - Jaleel Johnson and Faith Ekakitie - and developing athletes Drew Ott and Daumantas Venckus.
Keep an eye on Bettendorf's Nate Shaw as a possible late offeree.
Defensive Back - With four players verballed in the secondary (two safeties, two corners), Iowa could very well be done back here.
In Closing - The Hawkeye coaches always have a list of recruits whom they may offer late. Marcus Collins came out of nowhere last year. If some of the names above fall through, expect some stories on under-the-radar prospects.
Note - If you're a fringe follower of recruiting and would like to get to know some of the players Iowa is pursuing or have in the fold at this point, you can click on their names in this story at it will take you to their profile pages. There you can see all of the stories written by HI as well as others from the Scout.com network.