Offer Flatters Hockaday, Sticking with Iowa

One of Iowa's first commitments in the 2015 recruiting class was Illinois linebacker Jack Hockaday. Missouri challenged that verbal pledge earlier this month with a offer. Hawkeye Insider caught up with Hockaday to find out how he feels about the SEC opportunity and what it means, if anything, for his future.

MAROA, Ill. - Jack Hockaday verbally committed to Iowa in March figuring the move ended his recruiting process. He figured right up until a few weeks ago.

The senior quarterback/linebacker from Maroa-Forsyth (Ill.) High excelled during a care-free season. He dominated games.

Missouri noticed. After not having any previous contact with the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder, the Tigers offered him a scholarship on Nov. 5.

"It was pretty crazy," Hockaday said. "Just one day they messaged me. Eventually they called me and said they were going to give me an offer. So, it's pretty surprising but flattering to get an SEC offer."

Hockaday said his only connection to Missouri is that his girlfriend attends Truman State, located in Kirksville, about 100 miles from Columbia.

"I don't think (the Missouri offer) tests my commitment to Iowa," Hockaday said. "It's a great offer but I'm kind of just worried about my season right now. I'm just going to focus on that and just worry about everything else later."

Maroa-Forsyth advanced to Class 2A state semifinals with a 44-6 win against Athens on Saturday. Hockaday rushed for 122 yards and three touchdowns and passed for 162 more and a score. The Trojans (9-3) have won their three playoff games by an average of 28 points.

"We've improved every week. We started off a little slow at the beginning but towards the end we started clicking. We're clicking at the right time, right in the heart of the playoffs and hopefully can end the season on a strong note," Hockaday said.

Hockaday said he's been pleased with his final prep campaign. He has forced eight fumbles and intercepted five passes, he said.

One key to his success this fall was playing without distraction from recruiting.

"I think it's a benefit not to think about it and have it over with. You can just focus on the season and enjoying your senior season," he said.

Hockaday visited Iowa for its contest against Iowa State in September. He'd been to Iowa City for a game last year as well.

"The atmosphere was great. I really like the fans' enthusiasm. It definitely played in a little bit of a role but definitely what made me choose Iowa was the coaches. I really have a great relationship with them. I think they're the right fit for me," Hockaday said.

Assistant Brian Ferentz led the Hawkeyes' recruitment of Hockaday. Linebacker coaches LeVar Woods and Jim Reid helped out as that will be his college position.

"Coach Woods wants me as the LEO but Coach Reid says he can see me as the WIL or the middle. So, I just feel like it's a situation where I go in there and they put me where they see me best, where I can help the team the most," Hockaday said.

"I feel that it's one of my strong suites that I can play multiple positions. I feel like I could probably even play safety. I feel like it definitely will be an advantage to me to be able to play more than one position."

Hockaday said he's built a relationship with West Des Moines (Iowa) Dowling Catholic quarterback Ryan Boyle, who also verbally committed to Iowa. They've planned to room together in Iowa City next fall.

"I'm just going to go in and just work as hard as I can and just see where that takes me. I'm just going to go in with a good mindset that I'm just going to work hard every day and just see what happens with that," Hockaday said.

Missouri would like to see Hockaday compete for playing time in Columbia next season. It appears that for the Tigers it's too little, too late.

"I'm definitely committed to Iowa all the way. I gave Coach (Kirk) Ferentz my verbal commitment and I'm just going to keep it that way, probably," he said.

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