The Iowa recruiting class currently holds at 15 members with a third of them being from the state of Texas. Three are also in the Scout300, three labeled as four-star prospects, and one holding five-star status.
At 15 commits, there's likely 5-6 spots still remaining. We break down each target left on the board and which way they are trending.
Iowa is finished recruiting this position for the 2017 class. They've added commit Peyton Mansell already, targeted him early on and nabbed him before attention could arrive and pour in from other schools. He's one of the ringleaders from the state of Texas.
The Hawkeyes are all sewn up at running back as well with two fine commits. Eno Benjamin is the leader of the 2017 recruiting class and deserves a lot of credit for the strong Lone Star State presence in this cycle. Ivory Kelly-Martin is still holding firm and should bring a skill set similar to what Jordan Canzeri brought to Iowa City. I think he'll sign with Iowa in February but he'll be a candidate for someone that could look around at some point, specifically Illinois.
Iowa has already locked up two commits at the wide receiver position and they'll want to add at least one more, possibly two. Brandon Smith is a massive body and a heck of an athlete. He's more athlete that plays football right now than football player that happens to be an athlete so he'll be more of a project when he arrives on campus. Gavin Holmes is much more polished and a very precise route-runner. The advanced stage of his game suggests he could see the field early as a slot receiver. Both are firmly in the class and there's no concern of either possibly wavering.
Oliver Martin is a standout receiver from Iowa City West with a recruitment that is wide open. Depending on who you speak with, schools such as Wisconsin, Oregon, Michigan, and Michigan State are also in play in addition to the Hawkeyes. I tend to think the Badgers and Ducks won't be real contenders when all is said and done. I think Oregon will be too far away for him and sources indicate the Wisconsin staff themselves aren't all that confident in their chances. Visits to Ann Arbor, East Lansing, and Iowa City will likely dictate the direction it goes in from here. If pressed to make a prediction, I would say Iowa wins out for him in the end.
Fort Wayne receiver Mac Hippenhammer is another target that has seemed to rise up the board for the Hawkeyes. They offered him and have continued to pursue him, even after ending their chase of other wideouts such as Maurice Bell of California and Shamond Greenwood of Texas. Hippenhammer's speed is a definite draw to his game. Penn State and Michigan State are also threats to land him. Despite a recent visit to Iowa City, look out for the Nittany Lions here.
Iowa is finished at this spot and they may or may not have a commit in the 2017 class. that will play tight end. Jacob Coons of Solon is in the class and can step in at tight end or outside linebacker. With numbers in this class expected to be low for both positions, he'll likely begin whereever there is a more pressing need.
The Hawkeyes have two very, very good ones already on board in Tristan Wirfs and Mark Kallenberger. Wirfs could slide inside at the next level, or stay on the outside at tackle. He has quite a bit of position versatility along the line. Kallenberger is a definite tackle and has one of the highest ceilings of potential in the class. Iowa was thought to be finished at offensive line, but that may not be the case.
Interior lineman Mason Niesen of Denver, Iowa has visited the Hawkeye campus a few times over the past few months and is still hearing regularly from the Iowa staff. The message he received from the Hawkeye coaches on his visit this past weekend was similar to the ones fellow commit Levi Duwa and 2016 signee Shaun Beyer received not long before they were offered. If Niesen is offered, he'll be a Hawkeye no question.
Spirit Lake offensive tackle Zach Dykstra has been committed to Miami for a long while now and it can be argued he may be the top offensive lineman in the state of Iowa for the 2017 class. It'll be interesting to see if his recruitment starts drifting away from the Hurricanes at all the closer Signing Day approaches but right now he's rock solid to Mark Richt and the Miami staff.
I thought that Iowa might be finished along the defensive line a few months ago but that is definitely not the case any longer, especially after Juan Harris departed the class and elected to commit to Indiana. They were probably going to add another to the position unit, anyways. I think commit Coy Kirkpatrick slides inside and eventually plays defensive tackle for the Hawkeyes. He's really filling out and over-growing the defensive end spot. A.J. Epenesa is the five-star of the class and a blur off the edge and should be a heck of a player in Iowa City. Levi Duwa is another in-state commit, and they've mentioned a possible move to defensive tackle for him, but I'd be a bit surprised if he wasn't a defensive end for Iowa.
Washington, D.C. prospect Tyree Johnson is someone not to be overlooked in this class. Depending on how things shake out with linemen in the class, he could squeeze in at some point. The chances are slim but the Hawkeyes made his first cut when he narrowed his offer sheet to 12 programs.
With Juan Harris out, Iowa definitely wants to add a space-eating defensive tackle to the 2017 group and Damion Daniels of Bishop Dunne H.S. in Dallas fits the bill. The Hawkeyes nearly signed his older brother two years ago before losing out to Oklahoma State. They are in a good spot for Damion, though, and we continue to hear they are the favorites to land him. It helps that his teammate Chevin Calloway has already hopped on board for Iowa. It's now a wait until Daniels can step on campus, and when he does, the fireworks could happen then.
ANDREW VAN GINKEL
Iowa does not enter the junior college recruiting circuit very much, so when they do, you know there's a clear interest. It helps that defensive end Andrew Van Ginkel of Iowa Western C.C. is an Iowa native and grew up in Rock Valley. I think the Hawkeyes can land him if they want him badly enough and have the space needed in the class. He'll definitely stay in the Midwest andI think that Iowa would be his preference. It'll depend on what the space looks like by the end of the season and also possibly how the defensive line on the current roster fared during the 2016 year.
There's no linebackers committed as of now unless Jacob Coons finds his way to this side of the ball. I don't think the plan is to add any before National Signing Day either. They took a pretty impressive, big haul a year ago with Amani Jones, Barrington Wade, Kristian Welch, Kyle Taylor, and Nick Niemann. One or two could ultimately finish up at a different position but there's zero pressure to find a linebacker in the 2017 class, especially since zero will be graduating after the 2016 season.
This is the position, along with receiver, that was most in need of quantity and bodies. After the current seniors graduate, Iowa will only have four returning scholarship cornerbacks on the roster for 2017, and just three scholarship safeties returning. Those are very, very low numbers. They've already compensated in significant ways. The Hawkeyes have landed two cornerbacks in Matt Hankins and Chevin Calloway of Texas and safety Djimon Colbert from the Kansas City area. Camron Harrell of Illinois is also committed, and even though they've told him to expect to play corner, I think safety could be his ultimate destination.
So how many more will they take? Probably just one but I don't know if a final decision has been made. It's probably a fluid situation.
Four-star athlete Russ Yeast of Indianapolis is the top cornerback target left on the board. The Hawkeyes have pursued him with a ton of aggression and are recruiting him harder than any program. They're battling it out with Ole Miss, Auburn, and Louisville for the most part but schools such as Alabama, Illinois, and Northwestern are also in the picture somewhat. All the schools just hosted him on a visit one more time before he sets to take his official visits in the Fall. It's still a four-team race with no clear leader, though Iowa's clearly made him feel like a priority which can not hurt their chances.
Iowa brought in the Texas commit on a visit during the Spring, and he was with Eno Benjamin the whole time as well as Matt Hankins and Gavin Holmes who eventually committed. He nearly flipped his verbal pledge from the Longhorns to the Hawkeyes in the days following that trip. However, since then, his recruiting process has settled down and he's tightened back up with Texas from the most part. Could he still take an official visit to Iowa? Yes? Would the Hawkeyes take him? Yes. Are the chances good? No.
I think this is the epitome of a Plan-B option. Iowa really does like Turner and he's already visited and been offered and there's some strong mutual interest here. However, I'm not so sure that the Hawkeyes would take both he and Yeast, and they clearly favor Yeast's talents a bit more. However, this is a fine alternative option and one that is totally realistic for Iowa. I expect him to take an official visit at some point in the Fall or after the season if Iowa has yet to lock up another cornerback in the class.
Already committed to South Dakota, Muscatine athlete Alphonso Soko has an outside chance to be in the class. Numbers would have to work out perfectly and it would have to be a very late addition. I think if he does sneak in with an offer from the Hawkeyes, it would likely not be one that is extended until the weeks leading up to National Signing Day. I would say the chances are pretty slim at this point, and not something that I would wager happening. But the chances are better than zero, slightly.