'15 Iowa Football Big Board

Hawkeye Insider Publisher Rob Howe offers Iowa fans an updated Recruiting Big Board listing 15 prospects the program would like to land.

When we last posted the HI Big Board for the 2015 recruiting class, Jashon Cornell and Justin Hilliard occupied the top two spots. Now, they're gone.

Cornell, a defensive end from Saint Paul, and Ohio linebacker Hilliard, long had been courted by the Hawkeyes. They announced within minutes of each other on Wednesday that they were verbally committing to Big Ten foe Ohio State.

While disappointing, the development should not have surprised Iowa fans. History showed that the odds for Iowa to beat out the blue blood programs for the nation's top talent were long.

The Hawkeye coaches have been working with this setup for years. Head man Kirk Ferentz has swung and missed throughout his 15 years running the program and still has found a way to success.

So, much like Ferentz using the "next man in" mantra when starters are injured, he and his staff move on in recruiting. And so does the HI Big Board. Here's how it sets up in early July as we sit in a recruiting dead period until the 13th:

Note: These players all have reportedly received Hawkeye offers and are uncommitted.

2015 Recruiting Big Board
1. James Daniels
Location: Warren, OH
High School: Harding
Size: 6-4/270
Position: C/G
National Position Rank: 7
Scholarship Offers: Daniels is one of the most sought after interior offensive linemen in the country. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Miami, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, UCLA and Wisconsin are among his long list of offers.

The Skinny: Daniels told us earlier this week that Iowa, Alabama and Ohio State are recruiting him the hardest. He clearly moves to the top of our board as the top Hawkeye target. Like Hilliard, Daniels has an older brother on the Iowa roster. LeShun Daniels will be a true sophomore running back in '14 and could conceivably be running behind his brother one day. Iowa has found a way to develop unheralded offensive linemen through the years and losing out on Daniels wouldn't be a big hit for the program from that standpoint. Still, grabbing a top recruit out of Ohio ahead of the Buckeyes and 'Bama to headline this class would be a coup.

Rob's Favorite: Ohio State
2. Matthew Burrell
Location: Woodbridge, VA
High School: Hylton
Size: 6-5/305
Position: G
National Position Rank: 4
Scholarship Offers: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Penn State, South Carolina, Texas, Texas A&M and others.

The Skinny: Burrell moves up to the second spot after four of the top have come off the board (No. 4 Hale Hentges to Alabama and No. 5 Alex Odofile to Oregon). Burrell fill a need at tackle and give the Hawkeyes a major victory out east. Burrell released his Top 15 list last month and Iowa was on it. He has a long-standing relationship with Hawkeye Assistant Jim Reid, who served as Virginia's defensive coordinator before joining the program.

Rob's Favorite: Penn State
3. Aca'cedric Ware
Location: Cedar Hill, TX
High School: Cedar Hill
Size: 6-0/196
Position: RB
National Position Rank: 50
Scholarship Offers: Clemson, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, Northwestern, Ohio State, SMU, Texas Tech and Wisconsin.

The Skinny: Ware jumps from No. 14 on our previous board to the top five. The leap results from targets committing to Iowa and elsewhere and the news that incoming RB Markel Smith must qualify academically at prep school. The position becomes more important to address in this cycle and Ware is the top talent on the board. He visited here recently and told us after it that the Hawkeyes were high on his list.

Rob's Favorite: Notre Dame
4. Chris Sharp
Location: Princeton, NJ
High School: The Hun School
Size: 6-1/195
Position: OLB
National Position Rank: 15
Scholarship Offers: Boston College, Rutgers, Kansas, Virginia.

The Skinny: Sharp joins Ware in skyrocketing up the board and it happened for a similar reason. With Hilliard gone, Sharp becomes a key target at linebacker. He visited Iowa City for the spring game and came away impressed, saying the Hawkeyes were his favorite. He's since visited other schools and offered up complimentary comments about them. He's also added offers from Kansas and Virginia since stopping at Kinnick Stadium.

Rob's Favorite: Iowa
5. Tyriq Thompson
Location: Detroit, MI
High School: King High
Size: 6-1/220
Position: OLB
National Position Rank: NR
Scholarship Offers: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, NC State, Nebraska, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Wisconsin.

The Skinny: Thompson was absent from our last Big Board based on the unlikelihood of pulling him out of Michigan. The Iowa staff has blitzed the talented linebacker recently which is probably related to not feeling good about Hilliard and Sharp taking his time. In a recent interview, Thompson gave the Hawkeyes hope that they can get him to follow fellow King standouts, Desmond King and Jalen Embry, to Iowa City.

Rob's Favorite: Michigan
6. Raequan Williams
Location: Chicago, IL
High School: Gordon Tech
Size: 6-5/265
Position: DE
National Position Rank: 34
Scholarship Offers: Arizona, Arizona State, Illinois, Penn State, Tennessee and others.

The Skinny: Williams continues to call Iowa is leader but appears to be in no hurry to end his recruitment. He's visited the Hawkeyes on multiple occasions and has connected with the program. With Cornell coming off the board, the Chicago product rises to the top of the list at defensive end. He fills a need and is a priority in this class.

Rob's Favorite: Iowa
7. Alec Murphy
Location: Nixa, MO
High School: Nixa
Size: 6-2/220
Position: RB
National Position Rank: 59
Scholarship Offers: Kansas State, Mississippi State, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa State.

The Skinny: Murphy is another big mover up the board with the Smith news coming down. He's a bigger back than Ware but fits very well into the Iowa running scheme. He's visited Iowa City and came away impressed. He's keeping the Hawkeyes among his favorites but is still working through the process.

Rob's Favorite: Mississippi State
8. Devine Ozigbo
Location: Sachse, TX
High School: Sachse High
Size: 5-11/230
Position: RB
National Position Rank: 84
Scholarship Offers: Boise State, Boston College, Illinois, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Miami, Minnesota, Mississippi State, SMU, Syraacuse, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest, Wisconsin.

The Skinny: Ozigbo visited Iowa and Iowa State last month and was very complimentary of both programs. It's not often that the Hawkeye State schools go head up and sit well with the same out of state prospect, but this one could be interesting. Ozigbo said he's closing in on a decision so we might not have to wait long to find out how it concludes.

Rob's Favorite: Iowa
9. Bryce Balous
Location: McKinney, TX
High School: McKinney North
Size: 5-11, 180
Position: S
National Position Rank: NR
Scholarship Offers: Arkansas State, Kansas State, Nevada.

The Skinny: Iowa needs to continue to improve team speed and Balous fits the bill. He ran a 4.39, 40 at a Nike Combine this spring. Balous has canceled a couple of visits to Iowa so far but he's not getting out to other schools, either, and doesn't seem to be in a rush to make a decision. Iowa jumped in early on Balous' recruitment and sits in a good position. The Hawkeyes need to get him on campus.

Rob's Favorite: Iowa
10. Bryce English
Location:De Soto, TX
High School: De Soto
Size: 5-11/315
Position: DT
National Position Rank: 30
Scholarship Offers: Arizona State, Texas Christian, Texas, Wisconsin.

The Skinny: English came off his Texas commitment after the coaching change in Austin. He's been soaking up the recruiting process ever since and it's tough to get a read on who he likes the most. He said he likes the Hawkeyes and interacts with their fans on Twitter but he does with most schools' bases pursuing him. Again, like Balous, the key is getting him to travel from Texas to Iowa City to check things out. Perhaps it comes in the form of an official visit this fall.

Rob's Favorite: TCU
11. Marquise Doherty
Location:Kansas City, MO
High School: Winnetonka
Size: 6-1/190
Position: S
National Position Rank: 31
Scholarship Offers: Cincinnati, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and others. The Skinny: Iowa is trying to strike it rich at Winnetonka two years in a row after landing linebacker Aaron Mends in the '14 class. Doherty is a very good athlete who also excels on the baseball diamond. He wants to play both sports at the next level and Iowa is among the schools that have offered that opportunity. Doherty has been saying for a while that he wants to visit the Hawkeyes but hasn't fit it into his busy schedule thus far. There's also a chance he is drafted high enough next summer that he passes on college football and heads right into professional baseball.

Rob's Favorite: Missouri
12. Jaelen Austin
Location: Grand Prairie, TX
High School: South Grand Prairie
Size: 6-2/190
Position: WR
National Position Rank: 69
Scholarship Offers: Arkansas, TCU, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas State, Mississippi, Nebraska, Texas A&M.

The Skinny: In the driver's seat for much of Austin's early recruitment, Iowa appears to be moving to the second row. He still lists the Hawkeyes among his favorites but it appears he's waiting for bigger-named schools to offer. He's Alabama and has been to Texas on multiple occasions. Oregon could move the top of the list if the Ducks offer.

Rob's Favorite: Texas Tech
13. Rashod Berry
Location:Lorain, OH
High School: Lorain City
Size: 6-4/215
Position: DE
National Position Rank: 70
Scholarship Offers: IIllinois, Syracuse, MAC schools.

The Skinny: Iowa is building a relationship with Berry and hopes to get him on campus to show him how much they could use his athleticism at defensive end. Berry seems to be taking his time with his recruitment which often times means the prospect is waiting for other offers.

Rob's Favorite: Iowa
14. Jonathan Crawford
Location: Largo, FL
High School: Largo High
Size: 6-1.5/171
Position: S
National Position Rank: 58
Scholarship Offers: Indiana, Louisville, Minnesota, NC State, Rutgers, Syracuse, Central Florida, Virginia, Wake Forest, Wisconsin.

The Skinny: Crawford's head coach is Marcus Paschal, another talented safety Iowa pulled out of Largo. It gives Iowa a connection but won't be the deciding factor. As with most players coming from far away with a lot of closer options, it will be key for Iowa to get Crawford on campus. He seems to be taking his recruitment slowly so a trip to Kinnick could come in the form of an official visit. He's a very good athlete who could push for early playing time in the Hawkeye secondary.

Rob's Favorite: Lousiville
15. Emmanuel Ogwo
Location: Mesquite, TX
High School: Horn High
Size: 6-0/170
Position: WR
National Position Rank: 58
Scholarship Offers: Louisiana-Monroe, Rutgers, UNLV.

The Skinny: Like Balous and linebacker verbal commitment, Justin Jinning, Iowa identified Ogwo and offered early. The keys to landing the speedy receiver will be convincing him to visit campus and holding off schools closer to home and from warm-weather states. He possesses the skill set for making plays after the catch, something receivers coach Bobby Kennedy and offensive coordinator Greg Davis have been seeking.

Rob's Favorite: Iowa

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