Building a Winner, Part I

Did you know the 1998 and ‘99 Iowa football recruiting classes (which formed the '02 and '03 senior classes) were, by most accounts <i>at the time</i>, considered lousy?

What, you say? The Hawkeyes won 12 Big Ten games and 18 games overall with those players.

Such is the dirty little secret of recruiting rankings. Like a bikini, they can show a lot, but not everything.

It got me thinking, before we spend much more time touting this year's incoming freshman class or get too excited about the players on the board for next year, I thought it might be worth looking back at the classes (players who received scholarship offers out of high school only) that got us where we are today.

So, today, offers you Part I of a retrospective re-rating of the recruiting classes (scholarship-offered players only) that made the 2002 and 2003 Hawks ...


The heroes (won/projected to earn three or more letters and/or were all-Big Ten at Iowa): D.J. Johnson, Aaron Kampman, Jerry Montgomery, Chris Oliver, David Porter, Andy Lightfoot, Eric Steinbach.

The no-shows (never lettered or no longer at Iowa): Darius Brown, Dusty DeVries, Glen Giesen, Shawn Murray, Chris Natoli, Jon Omatola, Travis Riatt, David Walters, Nick Whisler.

The also-rans (limited contributions at Iowa): Siaka Massaquoi, Matt Rogers, Dan Williams, Vincent Wilson.

The totals: 35% heroes, 45% no-shows, 20% also-rans.

  • Steal of the class (nobody else recruited him hard): Eric Steinbach

  • Bust of the class (highly touted but little or no college performance): David Walters

  • 1998 grade (based upon recruiting rankings): B-

  • 2003 grade (based upon actual performance): C


    The heroes: Sam Aiello, Fred Barr, A.J. Blazek*, Kory Borchers, Maurice Brown, Edgar Cervantes, Jared Clauss, Colin Cole, Derek Davidson*, Robert Gallery, Aaron Greving, Howard Hodges, Erik Jensen, Ramon Ochoa, Chris Smith. (*JUCO signees who lettered both seasons at Iowa)

    The no-shows: Nick Rahfaldt, Cameron Smith.

    The also-rans: Jon Beutjer, Adam Densmore, Jory Helms, Eric Rothwell.

    The totals: 71% heroes, 10% no-shows, 19% also-rans.

  • Steal of the class: Maurice Brown or Robert Gallery

  • Bust of the class: Adam Densmore

  • 1999 grade: D

  • 2003 grade: B+

    Next time we'll disect the 2000 and 2001 recruiting classes and the impact they have or may have on actual gametime performance for the Hawkeyes.

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