IOWA CITY, Iowa - Iowa City High experienced an unusually down season in 2014. The Little Hawks played young players and their sophomore team performed well giving them hope for the future, however.
Sophomore Nate Wieland stood out as one of the brightest spots for City High in a 2-7 campaign. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Class of 2017 prospect started at quarterback and defensive back.
Wieland completed 104 of 201 passes for 1,093 yards and nine touchdowns with five interceptions. He did most of his damage on the ground, however, where he rolled up 753 yards and seven scores on 126 carries. He also served as the Little Hawks punter and averaged 37.9 yards on 31 attempts.
I got a chance to watch Wieland live for the first time on Friday. The Little Hawks fell, 49-42, to Muscatine but the sophomore accumulated 162 yards on 18 carries. That total included a 39-yard touchdown sprint where he blazed through the hole and passed defenders.
EVALUATION: Only a sophomore, Wieland has plenty of time to improve and develop physically. He boards solid potential to be Division I recruit if it comes together.
At this point, Wieland would need to progress significantly to play quarterback at the next level. Despite completing 9 of 12 passes for 126 yards against Muscatine, he's more of an athlete playing the position with a run-first mindset.
Where Wieland plays in college will work itself out if he continues his upward trajectory that landed him a spot as team captain as a sophomore. His athleticism is apparent.
Wieland accelerates well and shows good vision while carrying the ball. He's tough and plays physical football despite being one of the younger players on the field.
A Muscatine defensive back leveled Wieland while he was running. After limping around, he stayed in the game to lead his team to a touchdown.
Following that drive, Wieland's knee was tested by trainers who cleared him to go back in the game. He got upset when the coaches made him wait a series before reinserting him into the lineup. It wasn't disrespectful but instead showed his competitiveness and desire to lead.
Defensively, Wieland played in coverage against the Muscatine's receiver-heavy offense. He accounted well for himself in sticking with route runners.
Wieland doesn't possess the hip action and agility to play cornerback at the next level but he could develop into a safety or perhaps an outside linebacker if he continues to grow.
Wieland is an intriguing prospect who I suspect will see a spike in his recruitment as his sophomore films drops into the hands of college coaches. He'd also benefit from getting out to some regional combines to increase his exposure.
Here's a look at his highlight film from the Muscatine game: