Signee: Nate Stanley
Analysis: He's a four-star prospect with a strong arm, good mobility, and a terrific athlete. He'll break the high school scoring record for basketball and throws a 90 mph fastball on the baseball field. This was a home run for the Hawkeyes.
Ferentz: We really think he's got all the attributes of a good quarterback. He's a good athlete. He's got a real command, a real presence about him, and then in a quiet way I would say, kind like C.J. Beathard or Brad Banks, not necessarily a boisterous guy, but a guy that players rally around and gravitate to. I think he's got all the physical attributes that you would look for, and then on top of that, all the cahracteristics you kind of like to see a guy embody.
I'll throw in there, too, he might have the biggest hands of any player I've ever shook hands with. I thought he had a baseball glove on the last time I shook his hand.
Signees: Toren Young, Toks Akinribade
Analysis: Two different running backs gives them that flexibility and an ability to use multiple backs during the season in the future. It worked last year. They'll do it again next year. This haul lets them do it in the future. Akinribade brings more straight-line speed while Young is more balanced like LeShun Daniels and can run through more tackles.
Ferentz: I think (Toks and Toren) are very different players, but again, I think as you know, we're not fixated on one style pf player. The big thing is they're both really productive players on good teams. And Toks has really good speed. I think he's a really very versatile back and can do a lot of things. And then Toren is a little more physical, stronger back. It's amazing how many yards and carries he had this past season, his durability.
Signee: Devonte Young
Analysis: They thought they were going to sign two but they only sign one. Iowa likely only wanted two because they added three last year in Jerminic Smith, Adrian Falconer, and Emmanuel Ogwo. By all accounts that is a fast, talented trio. Young probably doesn't have the speed of those but is technically sound player that runs pretty good routes for his stage of his development. I thiink they likely wanted one more here and that hurts the grade. It isn't an indictment against Young's ability but Iowa's inability to pull what they wanted and him being a project.
Ferentz: We'll keep monotoring (the situation regarding a player that didn't sign). I can't really talk about anybody that's not signed, but we still have room in this class. We'll just kind of see how things go when we go down that road. We try to have our bases covered and I think we do, so I feel pretty good about it.
Signees: Shaun Beyer, T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant
Analysis: They wanted to replenish the position and they did that and more. Beyer is a late bloomer that they had a spot for when the time came. He has a great frame and a great athlete to work with for the future. Hockenson is more developed, will be ready sooner, and a weapon in the passin game. Fant is an incredible athlete, ready now, and a playmaker. If he picks up the in-line blocking part he should see the field this year.
Ferentz: Watching (Shaun Beyer) perform as a senior, the way he impacted his football team, and all the things that he did, all the feedback you get from everybody up at his school, not just Coach White, but everybody you visit with up there, they all say the same thing. It was pretty obvious watching what he was doing on the field that somewhere about mid-October we made up our minds that he was a guy that we really thought would be an outstanding player in our program. Not sure what he's going to play yet. He's one of the guys to me an athlete category type player.
Signees: Cole Banwart, Spencer Williams, Alaric Jackson
Analysis: For the most part they got what they wanted here, too. It would have been a dramatically lower grade had they missed on Jackson like they did Farniok. But they added Banwart and Williams early. They're lunch-pail, go-to-work guys that like to get nasty in the interior. Jackson is a huge upside left tackle in the making with his 6-foot-7 frame, athletic ability and little experience.
Ferentz: I like the fact that (Alaric Jackson) plays basketball, does a lot of different things. When we evaluated his tape, we thought he was a guy that really had the potential to be a good offensive lineman. He's very athletic, got good size needless tosay. He's got an awful lot of potential.
We really liked Spencer (Williams) film as a junior, and then when he came to camp, camp is an important thing for us. It is a great tool to evaluate players. It really gives us good exposure to see players working on the field, learn a little bit about their attitude, how coachable they are, and those are things that really impressed us with Spencer. We liked his tape.
Signees: Chauncey Golston, Cedrick Lattimore, Romeo McKnight, Brandon Simon, Austin Schulte
Analysis: I've added Schulte here because Iowa included him at defensive line on their release. This was a position they needed to hit hard and they did. Schulte is a project. I liked McKnight but he's probably a bit of a project now since he is still rehabbing his ACL tear. Golston is a project with excellent measurables and upside. I think Simon is the sleeper on defense. They may need someone to play now and that could be Lattimore. He's the gem of the group that can play inside and outside.
Ferentz: A couple of the prospects have good length. Everybody likes using that word length or height or size. Most importantly move their feet pretty well. Brandon (Simon) is smaller, not as tall. But if you look, Nate Meier played for us and played pretty well, too. He's a really aggressive guy. They're all a little bit different packages, but I think there's good potential there.
I think (Cedrick Lattimore) could do several things, and he's one of the guys I talked about versatility and what have you. We liked him on film in his junior season, liked when we got a chance to meet him when he came out to campus in May.
Signees: Amani Jones, Nick Niemann, Kyle Taylor, Barrington Wade, Kristian Welch
Analysis: With Josey Jewell and Ben Niemann still having two years left in the program, this is a position to just stock for the future. Add those two with Bo Bower, Jack Hockaday, and Aaron Mends and this is a position that looks far better than it did a year ago. These were the five names at the position on the release but one or two will likely play elsewhere, in my opinion. There's just so much position flexibility and versatility in this class. Jones is a big-hitting inside linebacker that I like a lot. Nick Niemann is very reminiscent of his older brother. Wade is a physical specimen.
Ferentz: You know, on my list I've got three linebackers, but that's part of what I was referring to about the versatility. I think we have some players right now that I'm not sure where they're going to end up, and that's probably a good thing in my mind. But three guys we have for sure targeted at linebacker position. A couple other guys might be tight ends, linebackers, even defensive ends. We'll let that play out as it goes along.
We see Barrington (Wade) as a linebacker and we told him that from day one. That's what we projected him. I've read some stuff maybe where he was a running back, but he has had a really good career. You can evaluate him better, as a linebacker or running back in high school; but it's kind of like Mike Humpal. That was Mike's best attribute, too.
Signees: Lance Billings, Cedric Boswell, Amani Hooker, Emmanuel Rugamba
Analysis: My favorites of this group are Hooker and Rugamba. Hooker is a playmaker that just makes things happen on the football field. I think he has an excellent career in Iowa City. Rugamba has the hip flexibility, athleticism, and potential to be special at cornerback. Boswell could surprise some people as well and Billings is a quick athlete that will be intriguing to watch how they use him. He's small and will need a year or two in the weight room before he is in contention for playing time.
Ferentz: (Emmanuel Rugamba) did a nice job on both sides of the football but we recruited him as a corner. That's a high need area, too, for us. We're a little bit long in the tooth at that position right now next year. So we really have to have some guys ready to go.
Analysis: This is a class that has more star power than some believe. I really like the promise and talent it provides with guys like Noah Fant, Cedrick Lattimore, Nate Stanley, Emmanuel Rugamba, Amani Hooker, Alaric Jackson, and Shaun Beyer. Then there's a few that I think could really blossom after a couple years like Amani Jones, Nick Niemann, Barrington Wade, Romeo McKnight, Chauncey Golston, Spencer Williams, T.J. Hockenson, and Toren Young. I think they filled all their needs and put together a nice blend of guys that can play early, star power, and high upside. I think they may have wanted to do more at wide receiver and possibly another offensive lineman. Outside of that, there's little to complain about.
Ferentz: Any time you earn a scholarship, it's a really significant accomplishment, and I always emphasize with players that we don't give scholarships out; they get earned.
First of all, I think the staff did a good job of dictating or determining what our needs are. I think for the most part we've addressed those pretty well. Really pleased with the versatility, the growth potential of the group overall. I think we have a lot of both of those things as characteristics of the group.