Recruiting Fit Is Most Important for Iowa
Fans today pay attention to college football recruiting more and more each year. It's a guilty pleasure for many, and they are extremely knowledgeable of the targets still available and the commits already in the chute for their respective program.
The boom in recruiting services has fed that appetite and it's grown significantly over the years. Scout and other similar networks provide coverage and employ full-time recruiting analysts to locate the most talented players across the country, evaluate them, report the schools involved for their letter of intent, and rank them.
That has blossomed to where a star rating has been established, ranking all the high school prospects by position, labeling them as a top 100 or top 300 player overall, and compiling team rankings based off of those individual numbers assigned to each athlete.
Fans follow it but do college programs? Some definitely do, either as a reference to see where they stack up against the rest of the schools in the country or to know what the competition is doing.
Seth Wallace, the Iowa Hawkeyes recruiting coordinator, stresses that recruiting rankings do not play a role in their process.
"I have no idea on the ratings," he said. "I know some people enjoy it. To us it's been (about) fit. It'll continue to be (about) fit. Regardless of three-star, four-star, or five star, if it's a three-star, and we really like that three-star, then we're all for it. It's because we know what gains they'll make for the four to five years they're here."
The team rankings of the past few years reflect that it's more about fit for Iowa. The Hawkeyes are currently ranked 33rd in Scout's team recruiting standings for the 2016 class. Iowa also finished 51st for the 2015 class, 41st for the 2014 group, 51st again for the class of 2013, and in 2012 they ended up in 47th place amongst all FBS programs.
In some years, Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes have maximized their collections of talent, faring much better on the field than in the recruiting landscape. A few other programs have done the same and become notorious for it, particularly Michigan State.
Those programs are looking for specific types of players, specific types of people, and guys they trust to build their teams around and ones that blend in well with what the coaches want to do.
Wallace alluded to this notion, and explained that they have to be selective in who they're signing and that only a certain amount of prospects can ingratiate themselves into the culture of Iowa football.
"This is different than a lot of other facilities," Wallace discussed. "You go in there and see a 24 thousand square foot weight room. That's Iowa. You better be willing to get in here and work. That's not necessarily for everybody."
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