Memo to Blue Chip High School Football Players: If you are seriously considering Iowa as your home for the next four years, you might want to reserve your spot now, as space is becoming limited.
While that might be a bit of poetic license, it's just down the alley from being accurate.
Villa Park, Illinois standout Rahkeem Smith is the latest prep to commit to Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa Hawkeyes, and with nine verbal commits in the fold, Iowa is approaching their halfway point as far as expected scholarship offers are concerned.
"I called the coaches last night to tell them I was committing," said the 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker/defensive end. "They were all very excited; I talked to Coach (Lester) Erb, Coach (Eric) Johnson, and Coach (Ron) Aiken. I just knew that is where I wanted to go, so really there was no point to drag it out any longer."
Smith plays football for Willowbrook High School, the same school that produced current Hawkeye defensive end Matt Roth.
Earlier this summer, Smith had spoken with Iowa defensive line coach Ron Aiken about playing defensive end. Though they did not discuss that last night, Smith knows what Iowa has in mind for him. "He has told me he would like me to play there. He said I can play there and adding weight won't be a problem. I've been playing pretty well at linebacker right now, though, so we'll see what happens." Smith said.
Smith played defensive end for Willowbrook in 2003, but is making the move to linebacker and running back this year to help the team.
Willowbrook head coach Mark Olsen is a believer in Smith's abilities.
"Rahkeem is just a very versatile and unselfish player," Olsen said. "He is just unbelievable on the field. Playing the linebacker spot might be out of position for where he will play in the future, but we had a need there and he was eager to step up and help the team."
"He is a player that our opponents definitely have to game plan for. They did that last year when he played on the line, and I don't expect this year to be any different."
"He is just one of those players that can do anything on the field that he wants to. I think that is what Iowa really likes about him."
Smith (TheInsiders, herein TI, #24 ranked player in Illinois) joins fellow Illinois natives Jake Christensen QB from Lockport, TI #6 Illinois) and Kyle Calloway (OL from Belleville, TI #19 in Illinois) as Iowa verbals. Iowa also has two verbal commitments from Ohio natives (WR Trey Stross (TI #7 in Ohio) and LB BJ Travers, TI #21 in Ohio), three from Iowa natives (LB Pat Angerer (TI #5 in Iowa), DE Tyler Blum (#1 TI in Iowa) and DL Alex Kanellis (TI #2 in Iowa)), plus an oral pledge from New Jersey WR Marcus Wilson (TI #15 in New Jersey).
In addition to his offer from Iowa, Smith had scholarship offers from Pittsburgh and Indiana.