Doering: How He Became a Hawkeye

Dan Doering was offered a scholarship to the University of Iowa in February of 2004. Over the course of the last 11 months, Doering has been among the most talked about Iowa recruits in recent memory. On Saturday, Dan told a national television audience that he was committing to the University of Iowa. Jon Miller spoke with Doering on Wednesday in a private one on one conversation to talk about when he knew Iowa was the place for him, and much, much more in this exclusive to HN.com..

I introduced you to Dan Doering back in February of 2004, after having met Dan and his parents at an Iowa Junior Day when Iowa beat Michigan in Carver Hawkeye during the FanFest weekend.

We gave you an inside look at Doering and his family in a Hawkeye Nation magazine feature.

I told you since this summer that if Dan Doering were to commit to any school other than Iowa, then I probably needed to get out of this business, because Doering to Iowa seemed about as logical and right as any recruit I have ever covered.

During the second quarter at Saturday's US Army All American Bowl game, Doering ended the speculation in front of a National Television audience and chose the Iowa Hawkeyes.

I interviewed Doering on Wednesday night, three days before his announcement.

What was it about Iowa that made the difference for you?

One factor is Coach Ferentz. He is a great guy and he has the offensive line background. I really liked him from the first time that I met him. Then there is Chris Doyle. Iowa has an outstanding program and a tradition of taking walkon's and turning them into NFL stars. I think that is real cool. The team atmosphere is great; the guys are good Midwest guys, they play hard and they have fun. Iowa City is a great town and everyone is real nice. It's a great campus. It's a good fit for me.

You made so many visits to Iowa that we lost count. How many visits into your seemingly monthly pilgrimage to Iowa was the one where you knew?

I went there my sophomore year for a summer camp, then I went there once in my Junior year and they offered me (Michigan home game in 2004). At that time I was unsure. I went there again for a spring practice and I saw how the guys were working and I saw the team chemistry. I kind of had the feeling then, I think it was my third or fourth visit. I told my mother, ‘I am coming here.' I think that kind of scared my parents at first, because they did not want me to rush into any decisions and to keep an open mind. So Iowa was there, and I kind of put them in my pocket and started taking other visits. Iowa sort of set the bar and other schools had to show me that they were better. But that never happened.

Did you ever give a thought to committing to Iowa publically to perhaps help Iowa's recruiting efforts with other players? In saying that, I mean that you are a highly rated player nationally, and it might have helped the Iowa staff on the recruiting trails if they could have mentioned that you were in the fold?

I talked about that with Coach Ferentz, and he said though it would be nice, it would be up to me and he told me to do what I wanted. In fact, he told me that I should just do it on national TV.

I told him that some of the key players they wanted would be at this game, and I could come down here and be with them and let them know, and still be able to commit on national television, which will be pretty cool.

Your parents really invested a lot of time in this process, as well as some resources. How does that make you feel?

We went out to California on Spring break, but that was a planned family vacation. We worked a few unofficial visits in then. It was great of them to take the time out to drive me around to so many schools. My dad played football for such a long time and my mom loves the game. I guess they felt that with their son having a chance to play and be fortunate enough to get interest from so many great programs, they felt that it would be good to take me to see a lot of schools. I am very grateful for the time and resources they gave up to help me.

When you and your father were driving back from many of those visits, were your conversations along the lines of comparing and contrasting the visit with your feelings about Iowa?

Yes, that is basically how it went. I liked some other schools along the way, and there were great things about some schools. We would talk about that, and there were a few times where I might have liked a visit more than Iowa, but that would only last for a day or two. I would come back and get the glamour out of my mind and get back to thinking about what I wanted in a school, and it always came back to Iowa.

Dace Richardson also committed to Iowa on the same weekend that you did (December 10th visit). Were you surprised when you heard that?

No. I was thrilled. We are getting lots of good guys to come here. Trey, Dace, Jake, Bain…I am really excited. I just can't believe we are all down here together at this all star game. I wish we could get it going sooner rather than waiting until the summer.

I noticed during this All Star week that the ‘Iowa contingent' has been rat packing together with some of the kids who were still undecided, like (at the time of this interview) Tony Moeaki and David Nelson.

We are constantly on each other and seeing what we are thinking. They are all good guys and we want them to come to Iowa.

You and I have talked about you being someone ‘lonely' during this process, from the sense that you don't have anyone else at your school who has gone through this. Was it nice to be around all of these highly recruited players?

It is nice and it's comforting to see guys in your same position. You can talk about the problems they have faced, and I shared mine. We can just talk and get together on things and that is great. We can get some things off our chest.

Your younger brother Tyler has been with you nearly every step of the way in this process. Was that neat to experience that with him?

I think he has had a fun time with it. He has met all of the coaches. I have really enjoyed spending time with him. I hope that he has learned a lot through this and help him become a better player in the future.

When you watched Iowa play against LSU in the bowl game, that was the first Hawkeye game you were able to watch since you had committed to Kirk Ferentz. Take me through your experience in watching that game.

Most of the times I watch games, I am used to being in the game and in those situations, I never get too high when I watch football.

But for some reason during that game, I could feel it in my stomach…everything that was happening, I could feel it. Then I was freaking out at the end of the game, saying ‘We have to get something! We have to get something!' And Tate threw that pass, and I jumped so high in our basement that I hit my head on the ceiling. My mom was upstairs in the kitchen and my dad, my brother and me were in the basement. She thought my dad had died because we were screaming so loud. It was fun. It was amazing. It was just a different feeling from anything I have ever had.

Jake Christensen has talked about putting the pieces together in this recruiting class and building towards national championships at Iowa. Iowa fans love to hear that sort of talk, of course. Have you ever thought of that taking place at Iowa and how you and your peers would be remembered?

That would be amazing. Iowa fans deserve it, because they always stick with their team through thick and thin. They are diehard and to think about the future, with the talent we have coming to Iowa and thinking about a national championship, it's just amazing. I want to get to Iowa and start working to that goal, pushing my teammates and get everyone focusing on that goal.

Jon Miller would like to personally thank Dan Doering for his time over the last 11 months, as well as thanking his father, Rick, for the access he allowed us with his son. We all know that Dan is a highly rated prospect for his abilities on the field, but the entire Doering family is off the charts when it comes to the only rankings that matter; quality, character and integrity.


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