Iowa picked up a big commitment on Monday - literally and figuratively.
West Union (IA) North Fayette Valley High Defensive Tackle Juan Harris verbally pledged to the Hawkeyes after receiving a scholarship from the Big Ten school earlier in the day. He became the first Class of 2017 commitment for Iowa.
"It's not only the program overall, but their coaching staff treats me well and wants what's best for me," the 6-foot-3, 350-pound high school sophomore said about committing early to a college.
Harris transferred from the Chicago area in the summer. After sitting out all season due to transfer rules, he returned for the state semifinals and finals last month and helped North Fayette Valley win a state championship.
"I feel great about my decision," Harris said. "It was made off the connection I built with the coaches at Iowa."
Harris also reported scholarship offers from Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. He said had said this fall that the Badgers were his leader but several trips to Kinnick Stadium changed his view.
Iowa lost its last two regular season games to Wisconsin and Nebraska. The outcomes had no bearing on Harris.
"It's not about your team ranking all the time," Harris said. "It's all about how well you know your coaches and teammates because these people are going to help me out for the rest of my life. So, I picked the school that will not only help me become a better player but a better young man in the future."
Harris built a relationship with Iowa Recruiting Coordinator Seth Wallace, who called him Monday to offer the scholarship.
"Me and coach (Wallace) been talking for months now," Harris said. "It's not about what he says to me, it's about how I can see myself at this university. That means more."
Visiting Kinnick Stadium for the Indiana and Northwestern games this season, Harris felt he understood what he was getting with Hawkeye football.
Harris said he doesn't anticipate changing his mind despite not signing his binding letter of intent with the school until February of '17.
"It feels great and I love Iowa. I'm a Hawkeye," Harris said. "I mean, it's all about their position coach (Reese Morgan). He is more important to me because he's the person that helps me develop over the years."