One state the staff would like to gain more power in like the old days is certainly Wisconsin. After signing no Wisconsin preps last year, the Hawks set their sights on who Tom Lemming describes as the top propsect in the state of Wisconsin, 6'5 230 OLB/DE Eric Zilisch. That is pretty high praise concerning the national attention Oak Creek RB Brian Calhoun has received.
"The recruiting process was a good experience," Zilisch said. "It was a lot of fun and I enjoyed all the attention. However, I do not let it all get to my head. Rankings do not mean much to me, personally, but I always have people around me bringing the issue up."
While many Hawk fans have seen the Hawks receive commitments from a lot of prospects Iowa just offered recently, the Hawks have targeted Zilisch since last spring. He was one of the main stays on the staff's wish list.
"I chose Iowa over Purdue, Minnesota, and Nebraska mainly because of the people in Iowa City. Everyone is very nice and always asking you how your doing. I really just had a gut feeling type of thing while I was in Iowa City because of my comfort level. I just knew that I belonged there."
Besides the national praise from last year's recruiting class, one thing that I was also able to attain from the signees was how close many of them were. A large reason was due to the proximity of a lot of midwest kids signing, but many phone calls were always made. It was not hard for Eric to also see the unity in this team, especially the freshman class.
"The players were just very compatible with me. I had a lot in common with many of them. They took me under the wings to make sure that everything was going right for me."
Obviously, the in-state school, Wisconsin, not offering Zilisch raised some eyebrows. However, this would not be the first time that Wisconsin has let a good one slip by.
"I was not really that disappointed. I never even really took the time to find out why they were not offering. It will be a little more special of a game for me to go up against them."
What position will Eric likely be playing when he faces the Badgers as a Hawkeye? Right now, he is targeted at OLB, but it could be no problem for Eric to put on some pounds and keep his explosiveness and toughness to make a solid DE for the Hawkeyes.
Eric has a lot of other achievements, also. Those include starting on the varsity basketball team and succeeding in the classroom, with a 3.8 GPA and 27 on ACT.
Eric definitely has to be considered one of the more highly thought of commitments so far. Now both the Hawkeyes and Eric will team together to show the Badgers the mistake they made by letting this Heartland Arrowhead prospect leave the state.