Ask D&D: Iowa Mailbag June 10

Derek and Dylan of Hawkeye Insider take your Iowa questions for the week. This week's version covers quarterback recruiting, wide receiver recruiting, the college football playoff, and some NFL discussion.

WHAT FOUR TEAMS DO YOU THINK WILL MAKE THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF?

DYLAN: I'd take Oklahoma, Clemson, Alabama, and Michigan at this point. OU returns a lot of talent, Clemson gets DeShaun Watson back (he may win the heisman) along with a lot of other guys, Alabama always reloads, and I really like Michigan to crash the party as well.

DEREK: For one, this should be the year for Oklahoma. Baylor is now in disarray, TCU loses Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson, and Texas still hasn't recovered. They also return a ton of talent and get a very, very young Ohio State team at home. The Sooners should be favored in every game. I'll roll with LSU out of the SEC. I think they just may have enough to top Alabama this year. I'm also going with Stanford because I believe Christian McCaffrey is just that special and I think the Pac-12 gets rewarded this year after being left out a year ago. Clemson would be my fourth but I think they squeeze in with a loss. It's too difficult to pull off back-to-back regular seasons but I think they figure out a way to get in.

This will be the year the Big Ten gets left out of the playoff in my opinion. I think the Buckeyes and Michigan both lose at least twice. Iowa would have to go undefeated to get in and I don't see that. Michigan State can still pull out double-digits in the win column but probably a shade below last year's success with the personnel losses they had. Notre Dame would be the wild card. They lose a lot of talent but a lot returns and they return experience at the quarterback position which is ever so important. 

ASSUMING BOTH ARE HEALTHY, WHICH RUNNING BACK DO YOU THINK IS BETTER, TODD GURLEY OR LE'VEON BELL?

DYLAN: I'd take Bell over Gurley at this point in their careers. When healthy, Bell is about the most dynamic back in football. He runs the ball well and then has the ability to catch it out of the backfield too. Gurley may get there, but Bell is the guy here.

DEREK: Both are injury prone so that was a good point to preface the health concern. Removing the health concern, I'm going to stick with Bell as well. He's more proven and more consistent. Gurley's highlights will likely look better and may have some ultra-impressive games but Bell sustains success a little more at this point in their careers. 

CAN IOWA LAND TWO OR THREE QUALITY WIDE RECEIVERS IN THIS RECRUITING CLASS? REALLY NEED GUYS WHO CAN RUN, SEPARATE, AND CATCH THE BALL.

DYLAN: Absolutely Iowa can land 2 and maybe three wideouts. If I had a choice on who to take I'd be taking Camron Buckley and Maurice Bell, but I honestly think it ends up being Bell and Oliver Martin. Greenwood is in the mix, but that might all hinge on whether or not Kamron Fields comes to Iowa. I had a good chat with Chris Miller and he may be headed his way as well, given he has Iowa in his top 2 along with Colorado. Sean Savoy, Josh Ali, Jafar Armstrong, and Braydon Johnson are all in the mix as well, so it could wind up being pretty entertaining this summer in terms of commitments.

DEREK: The guys Dylan mentioned are the ones I would as well. And if Iowa can land any combination of those, they should be happy. An offer to Oliver Martin would put them in the driver's seat. If that doesn't come to fruition, he probably ends up at Minnesota. Greenwood and Buckley are tough gets, but doable. Maurice Bell is very possible but could hinge on what happens on his visits to Arizona and Michigan. I think they take three receivers, and if so, I think Chris Miller is a good bet to get in at this point. An offer could be coming for Jafar Armstrong as well and he's teammates with Djimon Colbert. Missouri just offered Armstrong, a Kansas City native, so that would be a Hawkeyes-Mizzou battle if an Iowa offer comes and an intense one. 

WITH PEYTON MANSELL SETTING HIS DECISION DATE, ARE THE HAWKEYES THE TEAM TO BEAT?

DYLAN: I think so. When you see he sets his decision date the Monday after he visits Iowa City that gives you a good feeling. The visit will be fresh for him and if he likes it I'm willing to bet that he'll be committing to Iowa when he announces on June 20th.

DEREK: I think Mansell is in. He probably commits to the staff while he's on the visit and goes public with it a few days later, on June 20. 

DO YOU THINK THEY WILL BANK THE SCHOLARSHIPS OF JUSTIN JINNING AND ERIC GRAHAM OR GIVE THEM TO GRAY SHIRTS?

DYLAN: I think they bank the two scholarships. Brandon Snyder will get one and Noah Clayberg might, but I think 2017 is so loaded that they could bring in some really nice players with those two openings. When you have guys like Eno Benjamin helping to recruit down in TX, I'm sure Iowa wouldn't say no to 3 and 4 star guys from down there. I would tuck them away in my back pocket.

DEREK: It's anyone's guess at this point. I wouldn't rule out maybe one more transfer, either, as we get closer to Fall camp. This is the time where players make those tough decisions because they realize what the depth chart looks like and where they are. Brandon Snyder definitely grabs one, in my opinion. The rest is more of a mystery. You'd like to pick a couple seniors out and reward them, so that the scholarship can still be used on the 2017 class but there aren't a lot of options among that group. If they choose to another or two on walk-ons, I would expect it to go to a few guys like long-snapper Tyler Kluver or specialist Miguel Recinos. 

ANY NEWS ON KEONTAE JONES? EVEN THOUGH HIS BROTHER PLAYS FOR IOWA STATE I WOULD THINK HE WOULD WANT TO PLAY FOR THE HAWKEYES CONSIDERING WE PUT DEFENSIVE BACKS IN THE NFL. 

DYLAN: I haven't heard anything new on Keontae Jones. The fact that his brother plays for ISU may hinder a decision to come to Iowa, but I don't think there is anything new at this point.

DEREK: He's already made a visit which is a good sign. I think they'd like to land a few more defensive backs. Jordan Rowell is a possibility, as is Josiah Scott, Zamari Maxwell, Randall Haynie, and Matt Hankins. Getting Keontae is going to be extremely difficult and it doesn't appear as if the Iowa staff is all that optimistic at this point of their chances.


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