'12 Sleepers

HI Publisher Rob Howe discusses five recruits who flew under the radar in Iowa's Class of 2012 and have a chance to do big things in college.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - I've offered up my Early Returns and Top 5 for 2012 analysis in recent days. Here, I've put together my list of Top 5 sleepers in Iowa's most recent recruiting class.

I do not have a strict formula for determining sleepers and non-sleepers. It's a personal choice based on the guys who received less fanfare than the majority of players in the group.

So, here goes:

5. Connor Kornbrath, P - I placed the West Virginia native in my "Early Returns" analysis because I believe he'll win the punter's job coming out of camp. I put him here because he still hasn't generated much discussion despite possibly stepping in for Eric Guthrie at a very important position for the Hawkeyes.

Iowa is going to be young and/or inexperienced at a lot of places in '12. Field position will be key. Kornbrath could play a major role in the movement.

4. Eric Simmons, C/G - A late offer in the class, Simmons saw little attention coming out of Madrid (Iowa) and not much more after a season at Iowa Western. However, he started to turn heads in his one-year of junior college and the Hawkeyes grabbed him now instead of risking him gaining more attention next fall at Western.

Simmons will have four years to play three with Iowa. He'll probably redshirt next year and be in the mix for time on the interior of the offensive line in '13.

Simmons worked hard to reach the highest level of college ball. He plays with an edge and won't be happy just being here.

3. Nate Meier, ATH - Another late in-state offer, the eight-man football sensation from Fremont Mills could end up on either side of the ball. Coach Kirk Ferentz says the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder will get his first look at running back, where he once ran for more than 500 yards in a high school game.

My guess is that Meier ends up at linebacker or defensive line, but I also wouldn't be shocked to see him toting the ball between the tackles. The defensive possibilities would allow him to get the most out of his athleticism and strength.

2. Drew Ott, DE - The biggest noise made by Ott was during recruiting was when he wore a Nebraska T-Shirt to a Huskers game after verbally committing to Iowa. After patching that up with the Hawkeye coaches, he flew under the radar despite a strong senior season.

Another eight-man football product, there's always the unknown about how his dominant performance on that level will translate to BCS football. Ott is a pretty good bet to make a somewhat seamless transition.

Ott is very athletic, running the 100 for his high school track team. He also carries a 3.99 GPA.

1. Tevaun Smith, WR - The post-graduate from Canada via Connecticut prep school suffered from a lack of exposure in his home country and that didn't pick up a lot when he arrived in New England.

Smith possesses a nice combination of size and speed, the latter of which is much needed in the Iowa corps. He also has good hands and a knack for making big plays.

I'll be interested to see how he adjusts to college ball. I have a feeling there will be a sizable learning curve, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him get his feet wet this fall.


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