Kuempel: Childhood Dream Becomes Reality

When you grow up in the state of Iowa, there is a good chance that you dream about one day becoming a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes. Such was the case for Linn-Mar's Andy Kuempel. He has been focused on being a Hawkeye since he was quite young. On Wednesday, he realized the first part of that dream when he and his father drove down to Iowa City early in the morning to meet with Kirk Ferentz, in person.

I had a suspicion that I was going to get an offer since it was a face to face meeting," Kuempel said. "We got down there, and I first stopped in Coach (Reese) Morgan's office, and he took me over to talk with Coach (Kirk) Ferentz."

"We started talking and Coach Ferentz told me I had the opportunity to play at Iowa, which I thought was really special, as he didn't make it sound like I was just receiving another scholarship offer. He just reaffirmed how special it was for me to become a Hawkeye."

It's been an amazing fall for Kuempel, who entered September with offers from Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas.

Over the past several weeks, he sent out tape from his senior season to several colleges.

It was then that the scholarship offers began to pile up.

Florida jumped into the mix and offered him. Then Oregon entered the fray. Last Thursday, it was Purdue that extended an offer, and Kuempel made an official visit to West Lafayette this past weekend.

Then he received a call from Michigan, and after he returned that call, he had an offer from Michigan. Then today's face to face with the Hawkeyes, and he had an offer from Iowa.

That is a downright feeding frenzy.

So what did he say to Ferentz after learning that the Hawkeyes wanted him on their team?

"First, I told him that I'd think about the offer. Although I had my Hawkeye blinders on, I knew I needed to let everything sink in. After I spoke with Coach (Lloyd) Carr at Michigan and he told me I had an offer, I knew there was no reason to waste anymore time if I still knew Iowa was a better option for me than a program like Michigan. It's something I have wanted to be since I was a little kid. It's a dream come true."

With so many offers from so many great programs, we wanted to know what it was about Iowa that stood out to him, besides his life long dreams.

"Coach Ferentz is a classy guy and a great coach. I don't think I could be playing for anyone better, and Iowa is the program I grew up following," said the 6-foot-7, 260-pound Kuempel.

Kuempel becomes the second offensive lineman to commit to Iowa, joining 6-7, 280-pound Kyle Calloway. Iowa's coaches have told him that he is destined for the offensive line.

"I'll be playing either guard or tackle at Iowa, and it is great to know they are able to use big guys effectively. They like having big guards and they also like that I can move out to tackle if that is needed."

Fair or not, there always seems to be more pressure on in state players to perform once they make it to Iowa City. That is especially true of offensive linemen, given Iowa's recent tradition in turning boys into men with heft NFL contracts.

It's also true when you look at the number of quality prospects that Iowa is recruiting along the line this year. Nationally ranked players such as Dan Doering, Dace Richardson, David Moosman and Raphael Eubanks are on Iowa's radar screen, along with an emerging prospect in Lawrence Green.

Spots along Iowa's offensive line are limited, and Kuempel is aware of those expectations.

"Coach Ferentz told me that I need to be ready to come in and be a leader. I'm from Iowa and I know what the program stands for, so it is up to guys like me to help show what it means to be a Hawkeye. It is a just a great honor for me in all aspects."

To read what Iowa fans are saying about Kuempel's commitment, as well as other recruiting conversations, detailed break downs of the Iowa Hawkeyes, as well as the 'inside scoop', visit the HN Clubhouse, the most active fan forum on HawkeyeNation.com, the most visited Iowa Hawkeyes team site of all time. Once there, you will also read Josh Clark's latest Iowa Football recruiting board, listing Josh's hot targets who will round out the 2005 recruiting class. There are some surprises, as well as information that you will only read on HawkeyeNation.com

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