As Iowa attempts to close out the 2016 recruiting class with a strong finish, they're still keeping an eye on their home base. That has resulted in a late in-state offer thrown out by head coach Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes already have received a verbal pledge from Pella defensive end/linebacker Austin Schulte and now have his teammate in their crosshairs.
Safety Noah Clayberg has been tossed a gray-shirt offer. If you aren't familiar with the term, it means that he's virtually a 2017 prospect. He would enroll at Iowa but would not be with the team until after the 2016 season ended and would be under scholarship at that point. In the meantime he would have to train on his own and not play football for that year.
"Kirk Ferentz informed me of the gray-shirt offer," Clayberg said. "He was at the school for a few hours with assistant Reese Morgan. I spoke to them separately with my family for an hour each."
Clayberg does already hold full scholarship from three FCS programs; South Dakota, South Dakota State, and Western Illinois. The opportunity from Iowa is one that he holds in high regard, though.
"It was really cool," he shared about his time with the Hawkeye coaches. "It was nice hearing insight from coaches who have so much experience coaching good players and hearing what they thought of me and how I would fit in. It was nice to see them and get all my questions answered. They've seen everything. I can ask them anything. I'm really grateful that they made the trip down for me. It was awesome and I enjoyed talking to them."
There is some obvious drawbacks to the gray-shirt option for Clayberg and it's something he'll have to sift through to decide if it is for him.
"It's kind of like coming in as a class of 2017 prospect," he explained. "I'd have to train on my own. It would be a long process. It'd be tough skipping a whole season and see guys go to practice that are in my grade. Also, guys in my class could graduate sooner than me. They'd finish their eligibility while I would still have a year left. It's not as big of a deal because I'd meet others. It's a lot of time not playing football."
What could help steer Clayberg to Iowa is having Pella alum Garrett Jansen already there and fellow Pella senior Austin Schulte enrolling this year. That familiarity could alleviate some of the concerns. Taking the gray-shirt opportunity is an option that is seriously in the discussion.
"I'm definitely considering it because I really think I want to give playing football at that level a shot," he pointed out. "Having an opportunity like that, I might try to take it. I don't know what I'm going to do because I'm still weighing my other options. There's pros and cons."
Clayberg is being recruited by Iowa to be a safety. He's 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds which is a pretty common size for the safeties that the Hawkeyes have used.
The opportunity in front of him may be too much to turn down but there's no guarantee he'll jump on it.
"Kirk Ferentz was awesome," Clayberg noted. "Coach Morgan was, too. You're not going to find better facilities. There's not a better strength program than the one Coach Doyle puts on. He builds players up and sets them up for success so that they reach their potential. It's a great school and close to home. With the type of players they bring in and the atmosphere that they give makes it a really solid choice."
"I've always had my eye on Iowa," he added. "I always wanted to root for them and always wanted to play for them. I don't know when I'll make my decision. I'm taking my official visit this weekend to Iowa. I will wait until after that. Signing Day is only two weeks ago so I'll have to make my decision pretty quickly. I'm kind of looking at Iowa and South Dakota as my two top choices."