They say that the only sure bets in life are death and taxes. But in the world of college football prospects, you can also pencil in the name of Dan Doering.
The 6-foot-7, 290-pound offensive lineman from Barrington, Illinois is a flat-out commodity. When you see him in person, it is hard to believe that Doering will not turn 18 until his birthday in June.
Doering is one of the best players in the state of Illinois for the class of 2005, if not the best. He will also be among the best in the Midwest and the nation.
Therefore it should come as no surprise that he already has written scholarship offers from Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Wisconsin as of February 15th, 2004.
In fact, Doering was offered by Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin after his sophomore year after attending each school's summer camp.
Doering made his fifth unofficial visit to the University of Iowa campus this past weekend, attending one of Iowa's Junior Day's. That event coincided with Iowa's home basketball game against Michigan, and Doering was courtside along with his father Rick, brother Tyler and his mother. High school teammate Garrett Seeger also made a visit to Iowa City for Junior Day.
"I have been to a few summer camps at Iowa and then I went to the Arizona State game," said Doering. "I went there this past December and watched them practice for the (Outback) bowl game, too."
Doering has come away impressed with Iowa after each visit.
"I live 45 minutes from Chicago, and it's not like Chicago. But it's a nice city. I like the river that runs through the campus, and it seems like a good city."
If there was one game that the Iowa coaching staff could have had a top-shelf prospect in town for last year, the Arizona State contest would have been at the top of the list. The atmosphere inside of Kinnick Stadium was as good as it has ever been, coupled with the fact that it was an evening game. Doering felt the electricity as well.
"Oh yeah. The atmosphere there definitely competes with all of the other Big Ten crowds and stadiums I have seen." Doering said. He has also been to games at Illinois, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Notre Dame.
"It was a very high-intensity game. Just from watching the chaperones going crazy, they were into the game. It was cool watching the crowd."
Dan spent the first half of the Iowa-Michigan basketball game seated next to Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz. I was also seated courtside and witnessed the two speaking to one another for the entire time.
"It was very nice," Doering said of his time with Ferentz. "We got to talk about everything. We chit chatted a lot and I had plenty of questions to ask him. We talked about everything, from recruiting to what it is like to be in the public eye for the both of us…it was real nice talking with him."
In this day and age, fans are much more aware of what players their favorite teams are recruiting, and we wanted to know if Dan noticed if any Iowa fans had recognized him.
"I think so, because when I was walking around my seat, I could hear people saying my name and stuff, looking at me and giving me that eye." Doering joked.
Another Doering that had a courtside seat, his younger brother Tyler.
"Yeah, my little brother was with me. He had a fun time, too. He is a freshman right now and is 6-2, 230. Iowa sent him a questionnaire, too. You have to get him on the recruiting board."
Iowa offensive line coach Reese Morgan and tight ends coach Eric Johnson were also busy entertaining Dan's father and mother.
"Yeah, we had a lot to talk about on the ride home. We went from Iowa to our cabin in Northern Wisconsin to do some snowmobiling, so we had a lot to talk about going up there."
Dan's father Rick came away impressed with his time spent with the Iowa coaching staff this past weekend.
"He is a very nice man. A great line coach, there is no question about that." Rick Doering said. "The Iowa coaching staff was down to a coaching clinic in Chicago a week ago on a Friday night and I went down and heard them speak."
Fathers play a big role in shaping the lives of their children, so we wanted to know how important it is to Rick to have a chance to speak with some of the same people that are trying to convince his son to commit to them for the next four to five years of his child's life.
"I think it is very important. The coaching staff at Iowa is tremendous, and that is a huge selling point that Iowa has. To be honest, they don't get much better than Coach Ferentz. That has certainly been highlighted by all of the other kids that Iowa has dealt with, as I have read many of those articles. That is very important. You can tell that Coach Morgan is a great guy, too." Rick Doering said.
"Reese told me that in his 33 years of employment, he has only been three places, and that he loves it at Iowa. That is something to get excited about. It was a real good visit."
The elder Doering had done a bit of due diligence on Morgan before this weekend's visit.
"I actually read up on him and saw that he had coached (former Outland Trophy winner) Chad Hennings in high school, in addition to coaching Robert Gallery."
Gallery won the 2003 Outland Trophy Award, considered the ‘Heisman' for offensive linemen.
Dan Doering told us that he is undecided at this point as to what he wants to study in college, which is understandable. I think it's worth repeating that he is currently a junior and is nearly one year away from being able to sign a letter of intent.
Which begged the question as to whether or not he is enjoying the early attention he is getting for being one of the top prospects in the nation?
"I am enjoying it. But it does take something out of you. Your mind is always on decisions and expectations. It's definitely a once in a lifetime thing." Dan Doering said. "There are a lot of kids that would love to be able to go through something like this and experience this. I am blessed to have these opportunities."
Dan Doering said that academics, the coaching staff, the football program and the entire campus will factor into his ultimate decision.
We asked him what schools had made a good impression on him at this point, going out of our way to not try and pin him down to a ‘top list' at this very early juncture.
"I guess you could say that I like Iowa. I think Iowa is a great school. The coaching staff is excellent; they are excellent people. That includes (Strength and Conditioning) Coach (Chris) Doyle. I think it is a program on the rise. Iowa is definitely one of my favorite schools right now."
Whatever school winds up landing Dan's services will not only be getting a great football player, but also a strong citizen.
THE DAN DOERING FILE
Height: 6' 7"
Weight: 290 lbs
Jersey #: 74
Position: OT - OG
GPA: 3.3 Honor Roll Student
40 Yard Dash Time: 5.0
Bench Press Max: 300 lbs
Squat Max: 475 lbs
Personal Achievements 2003-2004 (Junior season)
Mid-Suburban All Conference
Daily Herald All Area
Chicago Tribune 1st Team All State
Champaign News Gazette 1st Team All State
Illinois Coaches Association 1st Team All State
USA Today Top 10 Juniors List
Starting Varsity Offensive Left tackle - Sophomore and Junior Seasons
Track - Shot-put Thrower - Sophomore Mid-Suburban Conference Champ (50' - Best)
Trained under Al Vermeil - Chicago Bulls Head Trainer - 1999 through 2001
Currently training with Mike Gattone- former Chicago Bulls & US Olympic team weightlifting trainer
TEAM ACCOMPLISHMENTS - 2003 Season
Helped Barrington advance to the Illinois Class 8A State Quarterfinals - Season Record 10-2
Barrington Offense Set the Following School Records -
Rushing Yards (3,688 yards)
Total Offense (4,510 yards)
Points Scored (381 points)
Current Written Scholarship Offers: (as of February 15, 2004)
Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Wisconsin
Offered by Iowa, Northwestern and Wisconsin after Dan's Sophomore Year after attending each school's summer camp
Father played football at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater (1975-1978)
Mother played golf at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater (1975)
Special thanks to the Doering's for their time as well as for this biographical information