Running Pursuit

Iowa loaded up earlier than ever on the bulk of its recruiting class before breaking training camp in August. With only a few spots left in the group, the Hawkeyes still are searching for a running back. We discuss in the latest Rob Blog.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - Kirk Ferentz has enjoyed success recruiting East Coast running backs. Albert Young, Shonn Greene and Marcus Coker pounded the ground for the Iowa Coach.

The Hawkeyes returned to that proven turf in the 2012 class, landing highly-regarded Greg Garmon from Erie, PA. Iowa impressed '13 running back Rachid Ibrahim while playing host to him during a summer visit.

Iowa looked to be in a great position with the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Maryland product. He was prepared to make a decision by mid-August.

Ibrahim then shifted the field. He decided to officially visit his finalists in September before choosing between Iowa and Boston College.

On Tuesday, another wrinkle was thrown into the Ibrahim pursuit. Pittsburgh offered him a scholarship.

After I confirmed that opportunity with Ibrahim I asked him through text message if it would change his process. No answer.

This morning, I sent him a text asking if he was going to visit Iowa, Boston College AND Pittsburgh. No answer.

Ibrahim also is being recruited as a defensive back. He prefers running back. That has knocked some schools off of his list but not Iowa and BC.

The Panthers were set at running back when '13 NJ ball carrier Corey Clement verbally committed there in June. He opened things back up last week.

Iowa offered a scholarship to Clement. His coach said his star would be officially visiting Nebraska, Notre Dame, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh.

Iowa has piled up 17 verbal commitments in the '13 class if you include greyshirt Matthew VandeBerg. I do. Current greyshirt Michael Malloy is expected to get carries for Iowa in Saturday's opener against Northern Illinois.

The Hawkeyes do not have a running back for '13. It's not a huge deal right now. Iowa received commitments from three ball carriers after November last year.

Michigan's Berkley Edwards reports an Iowa offer. The 5-9, 185-pound runner also holds offers from Cal, Minnesota and most of the MAC schools.

I've heard that Edwards wants to wait at least several games into his senior season before deciding. Other BCS level schools are watching.

Aug. 28, 2012

IOWA CITY, Iowa - When Jarrod Uthoff decided this summer to jet the Hatfields for the McCoys, it left Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery with one scholarship to use in the 2013 recruiting class.

It also left Wisconsin's Bo Ryan with a pissed-off look on his face. You know the one.

McCaffery this summer told me and my Saturday radio partner, Tom Suter, that he wasn't just looking to hit a home run with the one remaining ride. Coach wanted a grand slam.

Now, that means a grand slam in Fran's eyes not those on the AAU scouting circuit. Aaron White is a jack with the bases jammed for the Hawkeye head man.

So, McCaffery watched July. He evaluated. He handed out very few offers.

Michigan combo guard E.C. Matthews appeared to be near the front of the line if not first. He spoke well of the Hawkeyes early but The Family product hasn't mentioned Iowa much recently when talking about his recruitment.

I've tried Matthews on numerous occasions (I mean numerous) and even have set up interviews. Nothing. It could mean something. It might not mean anything.

Though he has not told this to me, I believe McCaffery views Matthews as a grand slam. Kid can play, no doubt. Will he visit? I don't think so.

I confirmed on Monday that a class of '13 member will be in Iowa City next month. Michigan combo guard Austin Price said he finalized a Sept. 21 official visit that he talked about here.

Price said he will be at Lehigh this coming weekend and Yale Sept. 14. He's smart.

McCaffery also is expected to welcome into Iowa City Class of '14 forward Michael Finke. The Champaign (IL) Centennial High product talked about the Hawkeyes here.

Iowa is believed to have an offer extended to Byron "Bo" Zeigler, a 6-6 wing from Detroit, but the Hawks aren't alone of they do. UConn, Indiana, Iowa State, Providence and Tennessee also have reportedly offered. His cousin, Trey Zeigler, is at Pittsburgh.

Peter Jok from West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley High is on the Hawkeyes' radar, but he might have to show he's 100 percent healthy this season before Iowa offers. A native of the Sudan, the skilled wing has been slowed by injuries in recent years after being one of the top players nationally in his class.

McCaffery has hinted that he could hold onto his remaining '13 scholarship and use it in the following group. If Price, Zeigler and Matthews choose to go elsewhere, that might very well end up being the case.

But that would be too simple, right? Recruiting features quite a few more twists and turns that that.

McCaffery could wait to see what type of hand he's been dealt in 2012-13. If he sees a hole, he can plug it in the last signing period with a JUCO, a late-blooming prep senior or a transfer.

There's also a possibility a player verbally committed to another school could flip over to the Hawkeyes. About the only scenario we can rule out at this point is seeing Ben Brust suit up in black and gold.

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