Ask D: Iowa Mailbag February 12

Derek Young of Hawkeye Insider answers your questions for the week in this version of the mailbag.

THE PERCENT CHANCE THAT DJIMON COLBERT COMMITS TO IOWA ON JUNIOR DAY? DOES HE PROJECT BETTER AS A CORNER OR A SAFETY?

Well over 50 and I hate to put percentages on it. I think Colbert commits to Iowa on that junior day March 6 or in the days soon after. It is of my opinion that he is a safety. 

WHAT CURRENT BIG TEN PLAYER IS MOST LIKELY TO MAKE AN NBA ALL-STAR GAME?

I do like this question but it is a tough one. I will actually say Caleb Swanigan of Purdue. He's a big with a great deal of athletic ability, runs the court well, and has good body control. He could get into a bit of better shape but he's only scratching the surface of how good he can become and he can hit from the outside, too. I think his game translates well to the next level. However, I will say I was tempted to say Robert Carter of Maryland. That would be a dark-horse for me. And don't sleep on Troy Williams of Indiana who has tremendous upside if he ever grasps what he needs to do. 

WHAT INCOMING FRESHMAN LINEBACKER FOR IOWA ARE YOU HIGHEST ON?

I like how Barrington Wade looks but he's such a workout warrior I wonder about him maximizing his body so soon. I'm not sure where Kristian Welch ends up and I think Kyle Taylor is a developmental player for sure. That leaves Amani Jones and Nick Niemann. Nick has the great bloodlines, his father is a linebackers coach at Rutgers and Ben was a riser last year for Iowa. Nick looks a lot like Ben did as a high school senior and he'll know right away what it takes or figure it out soon. So give me Nick Niemann. 

WHAT ARE THE KEY DATES TO WATCH FOR WITH IOWA FOOTBALL RECRUITING THIS YEAR?

The next date to monitor is March 6, the next Iowa junior day. After that you're probably looking at a couple of spring football dates that will have plenty of recruits in attendance. The spring practice in Des Moines is scheduled for a Friday night, April 8. The spring game is in Iowa City on April 23. Those dates should be full of recruits. 

ARE THERE SET DATES IN WHICH RECRUITS ARE RATED OR RE-RATED IF THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN RANKED? WHAT ARE THESE DATES OR ROUGH TIME FRAMES?

I don't think there's any set dates but probably rough time frames. I'd imagine there would be one at end of March, beginning of May, end of July, and then following the season in November or December, and the last one a couple weeks before NSD. 

DOES IOWA HAVE ANY PLANS, OR HAVE YOU HEARD ANY DISCUSSIONS TO USE A WEEK OF SPRING BALL (MAYBE NOT THIS SEASON, BUT SOON) TO HAVE A TRAINING CAMP IN FLORIDA OR EVEN TEXAS OR CALIFORNIA, LIKE MICHIGAN IS DOING? WITH THE RULES ALLOWING SCHOOLS TO FIELD SUCH EVENTS, I THINK IT IS A BRILLIANT MOVE BY MICHIGAN. WHY NOT HAVE A WEEK OF SPRING BALL IN TEXAS AND ALLOW POTENTIAL RECRUITS TO WATCH YOU WORK? THE NORTH HAS TO COMPETE SOMEHOW.

It's a nice little idea but I don't think it's one many people are on board with because you're taking the spring breaks away from the kids. They'd essentially get no time off. It's the same number of spring practices, just 4 or 5 less in Michigan. But they couldn't go down there for a week unless classes aren't in session. That would be spring break. There's been a lot of coaches that have come out against this already. I don't see it as a trend at all. Even coaches in the north don't like where this is going. Pat Narduzzi has been very vocal about it and how unfair it can be towards his players. 

WHEN ON EARTH WILL WE FIND OUT ABOUT DREW OTT?

It seems like decisions have been coming down in the past week so I would assume anytime now. They do have until February 22 to rule on it. 

WHICH FOOTBALL PLAYER WILL PLEASANTLY AND UNEXPECTEDLY COME OUT OF NOWHERE AND MAKE A SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTION TO THE FOOTBALL TEAM NEXT SEASON?

In this case, you have to look at the positions that will have some new faces. Only one new face at linebacker and only one new one in the safety and likely it will be guys that played a fair amount last year that replace those spots. Same with the defensive ends since it will likely be Matt Nelson and Parker Hesse. Running back should be Daniels and Wadley. So I think for this question, the answer will be at fullback, wide receiver, and tight end. Drake Kulick at fullback is a candidate, My candidates at receiver are Jay Scheel and Jonathan Parker. At tight end there's a few candidates but I think we'll see Kittle, Outsey, and a freshman. Long story short, my answer for this would be Jay Scheel. This could be his time. He turned it on towards the last 3-4 weeks according to Kirk Ferentz and Bobby Kennedy. 

DEREK, CAN YOU REVISIT HOW MARCEL JOLY AND ERIC GRAHAM PERFORMED, AND THEIR ACCOLADES IN THEIR SENIOR YEARS, WITH THEIR STATS, AND PROVIDE THEIR LATEST MEASURABLES AND HOW MUCH CHANGED IN THOSE MEASUREABLES BETWEEN THEIR SENIOR SEASON AND TODAY. DOYLE SHOULD HAVE WORKED SOME OF HIS MAGIC BY NOW. I THINK IF WE HAVE ANY INJURIES AT ALL THAT ONE OR BOTH WILL BE PLAYING.

The depth chart has been the biggest reason they haven't played so far. Last year it was stock full of talent with Daniels, Wadley, Mitchell, and Canzeri. Joly was 5-11/190 according to Scout when he signed. Iowa lists him at 5-11/185 so there's been little change and the 190 was probably overexaggerated in high school. Graham is still listed around 5-11/200 like he was in high school as well. Graham didn't have the luxury of the strength and conditioning last winter though since he was a true freshman this past Fall. Iowa will want to tack weight on both.

I don't dive into stats much. What you did in high school as far as stats do not matter. How a kid plays and what a kid looks like and how explosive he is and his size is far more important. A kid that has great size and speed, and runs with proper and technique and can make people miss may have worse stats than someone that isn't as fast or as big, someone that can't make people miss, etc. Stats are far more misleading than star ratings will ever be. You have to take into consideration where a kid plays, how good his own team is, and how good the competition is. Also, the style of offense or defense. Nate Stanley's stats aren't all that impressive but he plays in a Wing-T offense. 

Anyways, if injuries happen one could get time. But a lot of injuries would have to happen. I don't see Joly playing and I think Graham is a year away. A true freshman will play too this year because they will want to put a year in between Young and Akinribade. Add that to LeShun, Mitchell, and Wadley and there's just not enough balls.

WHOSE IN YOUR FINAL FOUR?

My final four, without seeing a bracket, regional pairings, etc, would be Maryland, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Providence. I think Maryland and Iowa are the most complete teams that I have seen in basketball. Villanova always lacks the size and toughness, not sold on Xavier, Kansas isn't deep and has holes, Virginia's style hasn't seemed to jive well with the tourney, Michigan State has little firepower, Louisville has less talent than usual, and I haven't at all bought into teams like Texas A&M, USC, Oregon, Miami, SMU, and Baylor. Kentucky and Duke are down. Oklahoma and Providence have the studs to take over and entire tournament the way Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier have. 

Other teams that I did consider strongly were Iowa State (if McKay comes back and all is well), Purdue, Dayton, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Texas. 

WHO WOULD YOU TAKE NUMBER 1 IN THE NFL DRAFT THIS YEAR?

This is one of the years I probably wish I didn't have the top pick if I were the Titans. I think the best player in the draft is Joey Bosa and I'm not sure it's all that close. The only two that compare in terms of talent for their position for me are DB Jalen Ramsey of Florida State and LB Jaylon Smith of Notre Dame. I mean look at Bosa's productivity numbers on Pro Football Focus. They're downright absurd. So I would probably pick him if I were Tennessee. Especially since Smith of Notre Dame is hurt and it's hard to justify taking a defensive back number one. I think offensive tackles Laremy Tunsil and Ronnie Stanley are good but not special. And I actually like Stanley of Notre Dame more. 

DID EITHER OF THE TWO FRESHMEN QUARTERBACKS SHOW BETTER THAN THE OTHER? WILL ONE OR BOTH SWITCH POSITIONS?

Well, I think so. We never really got to see enough to know but Ryan Boyle got the second team reps the week that Tyler Wiegers got the first team reps when Beathard was hurt. That has to be some kind of indicator at some point. I think someone has to switch or leave. Someone isn't going to get the playing time they want. They're going to have the same eligibility remaining their entire careers and I don't think they're going to both play under center at the same time. 

WILL EMMANUEL RUGAMBA PLAY WIDE RECEIVER OR CORNERBACK?

He was recruited to play cornerback as Kirk Ferentz said in his press conference on Signing Day. He can be a good one. I like him there too but he could play wide receiver as well if they wanted him to. But they'll settle on a position quick and let him dedicate himself to it so he can get everything down. It appears as if that spot will be cornerback. 


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