Not too often do you find the Iowa Hawkeyes near the top of the recruiting rankings. Sure, recruiting results are always going to be related to the results on the field, but there's also challenges that programs like Iowa face on the recruiting trail. They're the same challenges that programs like Nebraska, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa State, and Kansas face.
It's the difficulty of having to recruit outside the home base. Iowa can't compile a roster that is comprised of a majority of in-state products and hope to be very competitive. There just isn't that type, or that kind of talent inside the state of Iowa compared to states like Ohio, the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, Texas, or California. Heck, the state of Missouri is going to have a higher quantity of FBS-level talent than the state of Iowa on most years.
You can't ignore the state of Iowa in recruiting, obviously, but you can't rely on it to be the core of your class, either.
It's these reasons that Iowa has to search away from home to build the class. And the recruiting process doesn't change, you still need to get a prospect on campus to have a shot at landing him. When the prospect's location is farther away, the details of planning that kind of trip grow increasingly difficult, especially when that money is coming out of the family's pocket.
"Our biggest challenge will always be, outside of our region, getting folks to come to Iowa," recruiting coordinator Seth Wallace said. "Getting folks to visit Iowa. It is getting tougher because the calendar is so sped up now. Decisions are getting made earlier so now we're asking those folks to do it on their own dime. That's difficult. That's where maybe some changes will be made down the road, I don't know, you can't predict that."
Wallace continued, "We have three or four out-of-region kids that are committed to us right now, and like I said before, everybody has been on campus. "What they had to spend to get here, that showed us that their interest is extremely high in us. It also showed to us that they're obviously committed to us. The unfortunate thing for those folks is that that money came out of their own pocket."
Iowa's biggest recruiting challenge may be having to recruit away from home so often, but the biggest problem with recruiting in general is the sped-up process. It's not just juniors making early decisions without taking official visits anymore, it's even spread down to the freshmen and sophomore classes in high school.
Linebacker Dylan Moses committed to LSU his freshman year of high school. Quarterback Danny Clark committed to Ohio State his freshman year of high school. It's a lot to ask out of a 15 year old.
Slowing the process down seems impossible. But help can be done. And changes can be done to ease some of the pain for college programs and coaching staffs, and possibly relieve some of the pressure for prospects as well.
"I don't know that (those changes) are up to me," Wallace noted about the possible amendments to the college football recruiting guidelines. "I don't know if my opinion matters. I can only speak on what almost happened with this last year, which was an early signing period. It went to vote. Then they said let's hold off on this for another year."
"If that's their top topic, then that to me is what we have to gear ourselves towards," he added. "10 or 11 months from now, we may be faced with that and have to have plans in place. To me it's about making sure we're not knee-jerk reacting for when that does go into place. Let's make sure we have an idea on what we need to do on our end when it goes into place."
An earlier signing period has perks, eliminating some of the flip-flopping in recruiting, preventing prospects from being overwhelmed any longer by several coaches at once, and eliminating some work for coaches if they don't have to recruit a prospect as long.
However, an earlier signing period has to come with an earlier official visit period. Recruits have to be able to visit the schools that they will sign with, and they can't be expected to financially support those trips on their own.
An early official visit period, in particular, would benefit everyone but especially programs like Iowa.
"(We) would love to have an earlier visiting period," Wallace, the recruiting coordinator for Iowa, admitted. "Because right now if it stays the same, you're talking about (official visits starting on) September 1, and signing somewhere in mid-December. Well these guys have high school football games late Friday nights, and can't (visit) until mid-Saturday and we're playing 11:00 a.m. football games ourselves. It doesn't fit us. It doesn't help us out with the way the Big Ten is set up schedule-wise."
"An earlier official visit period would be good," Wallace insisted. "It'll help us from this standpoint; if they had the opportunity to sign in December, it could open up lines of communication with them freely where we're not thinking about one phone call a week and all the other stuff we're limited to in recruiting. It cleans it up a little bit for those that are certain that they want to be at a specific school on that date. We would also know after you pass that date (without signing), that maybe if this kid isn't all that sure, maybe we need to keep our options open."
There's a lot of moving parts to all the possible scenarios when discussing possible changes in the recruiting climate. However, an early signing period would have to be associated with an earlier official visit period, and to me, that's not negotiable. It doesn't make sense without that being part of the deal.
Fortunately for Iowa, and their fans, it would be a positive movement for the Hawkeyes in their efforts on the recruiting trail. It could all go into effect in less than a year.
Earlier Official Visits Would Benefit Iowa
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