MORE OFFERS FOR WERNER AND NELSON
Iowa sent out offers yesterday to Indianapolis linebacker Pete Werner and Detroit athlete Scott Nelson. I said at the time that I didn't think the Hawkeyes would play much of a role in either recruitment. Werner had a pretty good offer sheet and that was only increased today when Notre Dame offered him. A Notre Dame offer to a Catholic high school student in Indianapolis should mean that he'll be apart of the Fighting Irish soon.
Nelson already had an offer from Michigan State before the Hawkeyes offered. He now holds a Penn State offer after the Nittany Lions extended him a scholarship today. This is a recruitment going national in a hurry. I do think the Spartans will be tough to beat.
CATHEDRAL DUO TO VISIT
Pete Werner wasn't the only 2017 prospect from Indianapolis Cathedral that Iowa offered yesterday. They also offered his teammate, safety Ben Stewart. Stewart already had a relationship with the Hawkeye staff and I think this is going to be a serious recruitment to monitor going forward. And if Iowa can reel in Stewart, maybe that helps with Werner?
Werner was offered by Notre Dame today and that seems like a lot to overcome but he is coming for an Iowa visit with the Stewart on March 6 for the junior day. That'll be a big day for the Hawkeyes to impress the duo from Indianapolis.
MICHIGAN OFFERS BENJAMIN
I've said repeatedly that I don't think Iowa leading for Benjamin at this point in the race means much. He's a top 100 recruit that really has yet to blow up with offers. I think that is about to happen and I thought it would. Michigan, an offer he's had an eye on for a while, extended him a scholarship tonight. That is one of the schools, in addition to Iowa, that he'll visit on his trip in March.
This won't be popular or well received, but I'd be surprised if Benjamin ever suits up for the black and gold. I don't think this one goes Iowa's way.
STILL NO NEWS ON DREW OTT
Much to everyone's anger, there still is no verdict on Drew Ott's waiver for a fifth year of eligibility. He is appealing to the NCAA for a medical redshirt. It comes after a year he played six games before being sidelined for the year. That is not usually a case that gets passed through by the NCAA but Kirk Ferentz did mention at a recent press conference that they had reasons for optimism and that they certainly felt good about a possible positive outcome. It's anyone's guess at this point. The deadline for a decision is February 22 and it seems like they will exhaust that entire time before handing down a final decision in this case. Just six more days, folks.
VALENTINE GAINING STEAM ON UTHOFF
Don't look now but Jarrod Uthoff for Big Ten Player of the Year may not be a slam dunk after all. Heck, a month ago many had Uthoff neck and neck with Buddy Hield for National Player of the Year considerations. But it's really not that Uthoff has had poor play. He may not be as dominant or impressive or sharp, but his numbers have been mostly the same.
It's been the fact that Buddy Hield has been unstoppable. He flirts with 35 points seemingly every night, and even in games against Kansas, Baylor, LSU, Texas, West Virginia, and Iowa State.
Also, Denzel Valentine has been back for more than a month now and is back to averaging almost a triple double. He's another one that can touch 30 about anytime he wants. The more he plays and the further he is away from the injury, the more buzz and chatter there is that he could take the crown at the end of the season. I think consistency wins out and Uthoff gets the award, but there's a late push, flurry, and buzz for Denzel Valentine right now and that shouldn't be ignored.
EYE ON THE ENEMIES
As I type this the Cyclones are facing Baylor on the hardwood. It is on the road in Waco and it's one Iowa State could use. It would be quite a disappointmet if they fell to 7-6 in the league. In all honesty they're fortunate to still be ranked #13 in the country while 7-5 in the Big 12 and 18-7 overall. Regardless of that, I think they'll be a tough out in the NCAA Tournament so rankings really don't mean much at this point.
We mentioned yesterday that they picked up a commitment from defensive end O'Rien Vance of Cedar Rapids Washington High School. He's an impressive edge rusher that I'm sure Iowa wanted to evaluate further and get to know. It'll be interesting to survey the new dynamic of Kirk Ferentz and Iowa State boss Matt Campbell and if he pulls the trigger on an offer to any of the Iowa State commitments from Iowa.
Another in-state prospect that the Cyclones are making quick progression with is offensive tackle Zach Dykstra of Spirit Lake. The Hawkeyes know about him and I think he's good enough to have an impressive offer sheet when all is said and done. But Iowa State is making a big, big push already and we've seen what happens when they do that, a la Devon Moore and O'Rien Vance.