TONY MOEAKI: I spoke with his family today, and they told me their name is pronounced similar to ‘Teriyaki', as in the Chinese food. "MOW-EEE-AHH-KEY' would be the phonetic. Just in case you were wondering.
This kid has flat out impressed each and every Scout.com analyst in attendance, and some of his catches have left me not only impressed, but often times speechless. He looks as if he could come into college next year and be on a two deep roster, and he speed and agility are rare for his position.
COMPARISON: Though he is a couple of inches shorter than Tony Gonzales of the Kansas City Chiefs, Tony M. reminds me of Tony G. He can take on defensive backs and beat them to the outside and the corner the way that Tony G. can, and any linebacker that tries to cover him is going to get beat; it's just that simple.
Moeaki is just one of those players who can come in and make a difference. He might be the most important remaining recruit in this class, because of his potential impact on a football game. A lot of people pull for the Hawkeyes to land a 6-5, 210-pound wide receiver with 4.4 speed. Sure, those are great to have and Iowa will take all they can get.
But football is about matchups, or rather, exploiting favorable matchups. And I cannot think of too many more favorable matchups than Tony Moeaki being covered by a linebacker. I know that you remember how Dallas Clark changed the complexion of Iowa's offense; I put Moeaki in that category, and I say that without feeling like I am using too much hyperbole.
If you could have seen him practice this week against the best of the best, you would understand where I am coming from.
If Moeaki dons the Hawkeye hat on Saturday, feel free to do the snake dance right there in your living room. Trust me on this one; this kid is special.
JAKE CHRISTENSEN: Jake has a live arm and he can make all of the throws that a quarterback will be called upon to make in a game. His form is true out to 40 to 45 yards. Let's be honest; quarterbacks make very few throws longer than 25 yards, and Jake can deliver those on a frozen rope. He has the best zip on a ball of any Iowa quarterback since Chuck Hartlieb…well, Scott Mullen had some good zip, too. But Jake just has that special ‘it'. His touch and zip on corner routes is very impressive, and he knows where his safety valves are. He told me on Wednesday that he always knows where Moeaki is on the field: "When in doubt, I throw it to Tony.'
Jake also found Trey Stross on several routes in practice this week, and the rave reviews that Stross has received from Scout.com analysts have come in part due to Jake's getting him the ball at the right spot and in a hurry.
COMPARISON: Jake has a little ball spin after receiving the pigskin under center or in the shotgun…watch for that. It helps him get settled in the pocket and it's something his father, former NFL QB Jeff Christensen, taught him to do. Maybe its because he is a lefty, but Jake reminds me of Steve Young. He is put together well below the waistline like Young was, and though he might not be the scrambler that Young was in his playing days, Jake can get some things done with his legs. I have seen Jake throw more than 500 passes, either on tape or in person. He is the best quarterback prospect at Iowa since Dan McGuire. Then again, Drew Tate was pretty highly rated, but Jake is 210 pounds before setting foot on Iowa's campus. Whether or not he has the magic that Tate seems to have is something that only playing in the games can tell us.
TREY STROSS: Trey has been one of the more pleasant surprises amongst Scout.com's team of analysts and experts here at the US Army All American Bowl. He is fluid and elusive after he catches the ball, and he finds seams in defenses before and after he catches passes. He could use a year or two with Chris Doyle, and he will get just that. But Stross is a physical anomaly; he can clear 6-10 in the high jump in the first year he ever tried the sport, he can beat a defender on the deep route, he can kill you on the slant and he seems to have a great football sense about him.
COMPARISON: At first, I struggled to find someone to compare Stross to. But then when it came to me, it was fairly obvious; Kevin Kasper, in his senior year. Kasper set Iowa records for catches and yards in a single season. He had deceptive speed, something that only came about during his NFL combine workouts…or rather, that was when his raw measurables finally became known.
I have said for months that Stross' measurables might be among the best at Iowa, right now. After a college career working with Chris Doyle, I think Stross might have a similar showing at his NFL combine. I expect him to continue to ‘wow' analysts and defensive coordinators throughout his career.
DACE RICHARDSON: Dace somewhat raw, or at least, that is what everyone has been saying for quite some time. But he has impressed his coaches down here at the All Star event.
COMPARISON: I don't know why, but he reminds me of David Porter. It's more than how he walks and carries himself, which is a lot like Porter. It's more than how he answers questions and reacts to reporters, which is a lot like Porter. It's just something else, something that I can't yet put my finger on. But comparisons to Porter are a good thing.
DAN DOERING: He has shown great footwork and hand skills thus far in San Antonio. He might be the best technical offensive lineman down here, and that is just not my opinion.
Dan is clearly a student of the game, as he has worked hard to ‘get it right' and it's clear that he has spent a lot of time analyzing the best in the game. Though I doubt he could come in and play as a true freshman if he chose Iowa, and I don't think that any many true freshman can do that, he is an obvious coach's dream, because he is a great student of the game.
COMPARISON: Eric Steinbach might be a good comparison here. Dan might start out at guard for his college years, but he is a tackle at some point. You will recall that Steinbach played left guard for Iowa in his senior year, due to Robert Gallery being Iowa's left tackle, but Steinbach is a versatile player at the next level who can play both positions.
RYAN BAIN: Bain is a pleasant surprise to me. It's not that I didn't think he was a player, because I certainly did. But his balance, low center of gravity and drive in the trenches has been impressive.
COMPARISON: This one is tough. He is a great wrestler, so you want to think about Matt Roth. But Roth has a few inches on Bain, and I have never seen anyone create more impact at the line of scrimmage than Roth. Bain plays with more finesse that that. Jonathon Babineaux is another name that comes to mind, because Bain is going to find himself with some quickness advantages at defensive tackle, which is the position he is destined for. Whatever the position, Bain is going to be a rock on the defensive line and he will be hard to move out of his space.
TYLER BLUM & DAVID NELSON: I have yet to observe these two in practice, but will get the chance to do that on Friday.