2012 Top 5

HI Publisher Rob Howe offers up his opinion as to who will be the Top 5 players in Iowa's 2012 recruiting class when all is said and done.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - In a recent analysis piece, I took a look at my Top 5 incoming freshmen who might impact the Iowa football team the most in their first seasons.

With that in mind, the players who impact early might not be the same recruits that become the best players in their college careers. Sometimes a redshirt is required for development or because a position is deep with veterans when they arrive.

Here's a look at whom I feel with be the Top 5 recruits in the Class of 2012 when all is said and done:

5. Maurice Fleming, CB - The Chicago Currie product represents another step in the right direction as the Hawkeye coaches try to improve team speed. Although he's coming off knee surgery, he can fly.

While he didn't get a lot of reps as a corner in high school, the Iowa coaches liked what they saw of him at the position at camp last summer. He showed natural ability to play the spot with solid hip movement and recovery speed.

Fleming might also help in the return game, where he could bring an aspect to the Iowa attack missing since Derrell Johnson-Koulianos graduated.

4. Faith Ekakitie, DL - The native canadian reminds me of Christian Ballard, although he's not as polished as was the former Hawkeye and current Minnesota Viking when he made the jump from high school to college.

Ekakitie started to play football as a prep sophomore and has a lot of room to grow. His athleticism creates a very nice ceiling. He also plays with an edge and could have the versatility shown by Ballard, who played inside and out on the Hawkeye font.

3. Cody Sokol, QB - No, I have not lost my mind, at least not completely. There's just something about this kid's ability and makeup that has me believing he'll emerge as the starter in 2013.

Sokol is by far the most athletic quarterback on the roster and that doesn't take away from his skill at throwing the ball. It also isn't a knock on Jake Rudock and C.J. Beathard, who I feel will contribute to a salty competition in '13.

Sokol reminds me of Drew Tate in that he commands the huddle. He may not have the loose-cannon temperament of Tate, but he has that knack for keeping plays alive and creating.

2. Ruben Lile, DB - I could see this talent from Detroit getting his feet wet on special teams this season and then landing a starting role as a true sophomore. The question is - where?

At 6-foot-3, 200 pounds with a heaping helping of natural ability, Lile could excel at corner, safety or receiver. That's a nice problem for the Iowa staff to have.

I just hope the coaches settle on something early with Lile and let him grow into a position. It's when they start moving guys around because they can that it creates an unfinished product.

1. Greg Garmon, RB - As my regular readers know, I love this kid as a player. He reminds me a lot of Ladell Betts and has that type of ceiling.

Garmon brings a combination of size and speed that hasn't been present in the Hawkeye backfield since Shonn Greene was winning the Doak Walker Award in '08. Greene runs with more power, but Garmon has an extra gear.

It's hard to say exactly how Iowa's new offensive coordinator will employ Garmon in his attack, but the Hawkeyes likely will remain a run-first team with Kirk Ferentz captaining the ship. And run, Garmon will.

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