Carbon Copy: Ferentz on 2004-2005 Recruiting

While Kirk Ferentz cannot specifically comment about recruits before they sign national letters of intent in February of 2005, he did talk about the overall success of Iowa's recruiting efforts to date, as well as how many players he feels Iowa might sign and the challenge of recruiting against some of the Big Ten's 'big boys' and how Iowa is making progress.


---Kirk Ferentz on Recruiting:

Has the NFL talk died down on the recruiting trail?

I think so. We're still proactive on it. We bring it up initially with every prospect just to get that out of the way. But it doesn't seem to be near as big of a thing anymore.

It's nice to get noticed by the NFL because it says you're doing well at Iowa. But would you prefer to have that talked eliminated?

It's a positive because we're doing OK. We just want to make sure that recruits understand that our intentions are to be at Iowa. We have a lot of challenges ahead right now. We're looking forward to those.

How many kids do you think you will take in this class?

My guess is that 20 would probably be high. We'll probably be in the high teens. That's what we're looking at at this time.<\i>

How do you feel you guys are doing to this point

So far, so good. (The coaches) just had a meeting two days ago. We're probably in as good a position as we've ever been in since we got started five and a half years ago. But, you still have to finish. It's like a ballgame. You might have had a good first half, but there's a lot of football to be played yet. But obviously, things have improved every year.

You said a few years ago that your on the field success would pay off down the road in recruiting. Are we seeing that now?

I think so. And that being said, we still have a lot of opportunities to improve there, too. If we can keep playing well on the field, we'll see continued improvement in recruiting.

From here out, what are the positions you've targeted?

So far, we've got a significant number of prospects that say they're interested in coming. And that's great, but we still have to fill out of class. To pinpoint one position, we're looking pretty good at the quarterback position. Outside of that, we have work to do in each and every area.

Probably the most critical thing for us right now is to make sure that we're doing a good job of being on the right guys at the right positions. It's always a little delicate because you have your wish list and you're trying to balance that and things fall the way that you want them to. That can be a little tricky.

How many offers do you see going to instate kids and how many might you take from instate?

We've offered several prospects thus far. Like every year, we're probably looking at 5-7 players right now with a strong interest. We're very anxious to see how their senior years come along.

Going back to the ‘80s, each and every year you see guys improve during the course of the season. You end up saying, "Boy, this is the kind of player we'd like to have join our program." I would anticipate that happening again.

What do you look for when recruiting offensive linemen?

The first thing is work ethic and pride; really wanting to be as good a player as he can possibly be. That's true at every position.

Maybe we're a little bit different with lineman than some people. We don't worry quite as much about size or weight on the front end. It's not imperative that we go out and recruit a 300-pound lineman. We're more interested in where a guy is going to be a couple of years down the road.

Last year, we had a guy, Mike Jones, who walked in and was a rare individual that was able to go out and compete at a winning level in the Big Ten as a true freshman. But you don't count on a lot of those guys coming along. More typically of us is we've had guys that have spent a year or two in the process and worked their way into our two-deep.

If a guy is the total package like Mike Jones, we're not going to turn him down. But we're not going to just turn a player away maybe because we can't see him maybe coming in playing in his first or second year. We try to look a little deeper than that. We have to. We don't have the luxury of getting all of the "Top guys."

Does it seem like you've been able to play with the Michigan's and the Ohio State's in the recruiting game?

We're getting in the ballpark. Gradually, we're getting in more doors than we could have five years ago. That being said, we have a better chance of being in the Top 10 at the end of the year in the football poll than we do in the recruiting poll. That's kind of the nature of what we're doing. But that's OK.

But doors are opening up. A lot of the top prospects are looking harder at us now than they were in the past. Our biggest disadvantage is the proximity of the population. The weather is not really a factor. Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, have all done very well. If we had 10 million people in our state, everybody would want to be coaching at Iowa. That's just not the way it is.

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