Spielman had grown up around football but at 5-foot-7, 150 pounds, he felt like a Division I college career was an unreachable goal even though he made the varsity as a freshman. Nothing changed much the next year despite starting as a sophomore.
Spielman decided he wasn't going to give up on something he loved so much. He trained hard and grew. While still only 5-9, 175, he showed the speed (4.45, 40) and playing making ability as a junior to turn the heads of college football coaches.
"I felt that it was coming after I got the Michigan offer," he said of the Hawkeyes' chance. "After Michigan offered, they started pressuring me to come down, more and more, to go see the campus. When I got there, the vibe that all the coaches were giving me, it felt like they wanted me to be part of the team and that they were going to offer."
"It was a great visit," J.D. Spielman said. "I had a fun time. It's just fun meeting all the coaches. It was fun seeing Coach (Seth) Wallace again after I saw him a couple of times during the football season when he'd come out and visit. It was also fun getting to see the state-of-the-art facilities, some of the best things in the country."
While Spielman still is considering lacrosse, his current focus is on the football recruiting process. Playing lacrosse for Ohio State would reunite him with his brother, Ronnie Spielman, a freshman with the Buckeyes.
"Lacrosse, they recruit fast so it was more stressful," J.D. said. "The span of time from when I began being recruited to when I committed for lacrosse was probably like four or five months. It felt a lot more stressful that way.
"For football, I'm planning on taking it slow and then deciding whether I want to play football or lacrosse by my fall season and then possibly commit to a school near signing day."
J.D.'s other connection to Ohio State is his uncle, Chris Spielman, a former Buckeyes linebacker in the College Football Hall of Fame. J.D. said he hasn't heard much from that program for football.
Slot receiver, slot back or cornerback appear to be the most likely positions for J.D. at the next level. He said Michigan wants him to attend its camp this summer to help determine that.
"Iowa said that they weren't too worried about what position I would be playing at the moment. They said for sure that I would be on special teams as a punt or kick returner. They said they would figure out the offensive or defensive side of the ball later," he said.
Spielman visited Iowa for a game last season but saw more of the town during this stop. He received a good feel for the place.
"I like it a lot. Since the Hawkeyes are the big thing in the area, it brings a lot more energy to the campus. Instead of there being other professional sports teams there, Iowa is the sports team that everybody goes and watches. They're like the pro team of Iowa, which is a great thing," he said.
Spielman, who is leaning towards a sports management major in college, saw Iowa this weekend with his father. He's relied on him for advice during the process.
"He helps a lot because he knows a lot of the coaches from all of the colleges," J.D. said. "If a college contacts me and invites me for a visit, he can tell me about the coaches and he also can talk to them if I want him to. He also helps from a film standpoint and in talking about how my game has changed because I've learned the game from an NFL standpoint which is above the level that most high school kids learn at."