Since they are not from the state of Iowa, Rafael Eubanks and his family had a lot of ‘catching up to do' as it related to the Iowa football program. After a few unofficial visits to Iowa City, with an official on the way on 12/10, Don Eubanks (father) told us that they are getting up to speed rather quickly, including having visited Iowa City on this championship weekend.
After clinching a share of the Big Ten title on Saturday with a win at home against Wisconsin, Iowa has reeled off the nation's fourth longest home winning streak (18 games). Rafael Eubanks and his father, Don, have been witnesses to three of those games.
"Iowa has not lost any home game that we've attended," Don Eubanks said. "We must have some good luck with us as it all started when we attended their comeback against Michigan last year."
Yesterday might have been the most memorable of all the games attended by the Eubanks famiky.
"It was a great game. Everything fell into place for Iowa with Ohio State losing, and they took care of business. It was incredible to sit there and watch all the people go crashing down the stands to rush the field. It was especially true with the student section. Heck, there were 19 seconds left on the clock. It was one of the more special moments I know we've experienced in attending games at Kinnick Stadium," said Eubanks.
After leaving early in both of their previous two games at Kinnick to beat the traffic, Rafael, Don and top junior prospect Matt Carufels stuck around to allow the two Hawkeye targets a chance to enter the locker room.
"They did allow us parents to enter, but Rafael got the chance to speak with Coach (Kirk) Ferentz and a few of the players," added the elder Eubanks. "We've paid an awful lot of money for him to attend private school, and still despite four years, all I get out of him when asking what he talked about is "oh, yea, uh-huh". I knew he looked a bit more excited than I had seen him after any others game we've attended, though, and I know he thought it was pretty neat that he was able to see his reflection in the Big Ten (title) trophy."
Some fans might think that because Eubanks has made three unofficial visits to Iowa, plus the Iowa-Minnesota game last week, that the Hawkeyes might be the front runners for Rafael's services.
"Rafael has only been to games at Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, and he probably has learned more about Iowa than any other school he is visiting. I know the game against Michigan (in Iowa City, 2003) was his first college game that he ever attended, and that left a big impression on him. He knows that he needs to check these other schools out to give himself the chance to see if others possibly offer a better opportunity, and he is still set on taking all five of his official visits," Don Eubanks said.
It appears that Rafael's decision could be on hold until mid-Janurary or later.
"I spoke to Coach (Eric) Johnson about their recent JUCO offensive lineman commitment, and how many spots they would be holding for offensive lineman," Don Eubanks said. "He said they had a few more slots open, and I know he made sure Rafael hooked up with the Moosman kid out of Illinois. I really like Coach Johnson; he is a nice young man; and he has done a great job of recruiting Rafael."
Rafael was able to interact with some of the other recruits in attendance, but one particular Iowa fan called ‘Stumpy' has certainly left an impression on the family.
"When we attended the Ohio State game earlier this year, we had a fan show how much he liked the Hawkeyes by wearing an ear of corn over his head. He told us his name was Stumpy, and he asked for Rafael's autograph. Then, my wife put the paper on my lap on Monday morning to show me how a photo had been taken of Rafael and Stumpy. We met up with him again at the Minnesota game as he made the trip, and we saw a photo of him in the MetroDome the following day in the paper. So, before the game started yesterday, we walked over to Olive Court to meet up with him again," Don Eubanks said.
With so much interaction between the Eubanks family, Hawkeye coaches, players, and fans, what else could they gain from their official visit that will take place the weekend of December 10th?
"We've seen all the facilities, Kinnick Stadium, and Olive Court, but we have yet to step foot on the campus from any of our visits. As parents, I know it is important for us to see where Rafael will be attending classes. I know it is important to Rafael as well, so we still have a lot more to learn and gain from our official visit down to Iowa City."
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