Top Targets: Defensive Prospects for 2005

Last week, Hawkeyenation.com Recruiting Analyst Josh Clark broke down Iowa's top offensive recruiting targets at this early point of the recriuting process. He is back with the defensive side of things in part two of his Top Targets profile.

Defensive Line

This is a major need for the Hawkeyes this fall, and Iowa could sign five to six defensive linemen. Look for several of the prospects they sign to be players that project inside and outside, and then the Hawks will sort out the rest once the players arrive on campus.

Raymond Henderson appears to be the top defensive line target right now, and is the top prospect Iowa feels they have ever recruited out of Oak Creek, Wisconsin. He is a great student, and an animal at the defensive end position. With his brother playing at UNI, expect Henderson to make it down to Iowa City on a few more occasions, and I also expect Iowa to be one of his finalists.

Iowa is very excited to have the commitment of Alex Kanellis, and you better believe he has caught the attention of Coach Doyle and his fine staff. Kanellis will start off on the defensive line, most likely defensive end, but his frame could hold some major weight and he could be moved inside. He is much like Ted Bentler of a year ago with his size and explosiveness; but he has more of a mean streak and plays more physical.

Linebacker

This position ranks near the bottom of Iowa's board as far as serious need goes, but the Hawkeyes would still like to sign one or two linebackers. I believe there is a strong push to find a raw prospect at the position that could develop into something special three years down the road.

Everyone knows about Elijah Hodge, but Hawk fans need to remember Iowa has yet to offer Abdul's younger brother. That could change or they may decide to continue to take the patient approach. He is a great athlete, fitting the same mold as brother Abdul and Edmond Miles, but Iowa will be very picky in what linebackers they take in this class.

Iowa would obviously love to get visits from both Brian Cushing and Michael Ray Garvin out East, but that's not likely going to happen. Rahkeem Smith is a new prospect on the board, and it appears Iowa is recruiting him to be the successor to Abdul Hodge at the "Mike" position. Iowa may also decide to take a linebacker that fits their need as an athlete and can play another position. Frank Burrell is a guy that has reminded the coaches of Howard Hodges and he could play safety, linebacker, or defensive end in college.

Iowa recently offered Ryan Bain of the Chicago area.

Secondary

Iowa obviously landed its top defensive back class under Kirk Ferentz this past winter, but will still be looking to add two impact cornerbacks to help ease the loss of Johnson, Allen, and Bellus at the conclusion of the 2005 season. At safety, I don't believe you will see the Hawk sign more than one due to the amount of depth they signed this past February.

Brandon Harrison is the top corner prospect on the board at this time, and Iowa is working overtime to get him out on a visit at some point this summer. The Hawkeyes would feel very good about things to have two young corners in Charles Godfrey and Harrison waiting in the wings in 2006.

I'll track down other names as the summer passes by, but as always, you can likely look to the states of Florida, New Jersey, and Ohio for some further defensive back prospects. Bruce Hampton of Ohio attended the Nike Camp in Iowa City and was named the top defensive back prospect at the camp, and he was also in the day before the camp for Iowa's junior day activities.


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