One of the most asked questions I receive this time of year has to do with recruiting. On one hand, that should not come as a surprise, as recruiting is 27-7-365 these days, but on the other hand, we are a LONG way until the first Wednesday of February 2006, which happens to be signing day.
HOWEVER…there is an event on the near horizon that might start to separate the wheat from the chaff, and that is Iowa's annual June football camp.
Iowa has been pretty stingy this year when it has come to offering scholarships to high school seniors. The kids that have written offers from Iowa right now, you just need to know that those kids are legit players and prospects that Iowa has felt extremely good about during the evaluation process; most of that has been on tape.
But there are several prospects that have been asked to come to Iowa's June camp and show their wares and perhaps a scholarship offer will come after that point.
I know that some of you are getting antsy due to the fact that Iowa has but one commitment in next year's recruiting class; Julian Smith of Milford Prep Academy.
Let's go back to one year ago today, May 3rd; Iowa had one commitment in the form of Alex Kanellis, and the hometown kid committed to Iowa in the fall of 2003. Iowa's next verbal commitment came in June of 2004, during its football camp, when Marcus Wilson pledged to Iowa on June 13th. Kyle Calloway, Trey Stross and Jake Christensen committed to Iowa within days of Wilson's commitment. Each of them participated in Iowa's summer camp, and Calloway earned his scholarship offer after Iowa's coaching staff watched him work out for two hours; they were so impressed, they told Calloway to expect some good news in the mail when he got home.
Just five or so weeks remain before Iowa holds its 2005 camp. With fewer scholarships to give out this year over last year, I am not predicting the same seven commit summer that we enjoyed last year, but with the way the national talking heads are talking up the Hawks this spring, a few of the nation's best players might choose to reserve their ticket on the black and gold bandwagon.
Another item to look forward to in June is Hawkeye Nation's 2005 Iowa Football Preview. This one of a kind issue will include nearly 50 pages of content to hold you over through the summer. If you have yet to order Hawkeye Nation magazine, don't miss one of the best issues in its existence, and the only magazine of its kind.
ASSIGNMENT HAWKEYE NATION: You, the Hawkeye Nation; we want your thoughts on Iowa's upcoming 2005 season.
Here is what we want and how we would like to receive it:
CLICK HERE to take part in Hawkeye Nation's ‘Predict the Hawkeyes' contest, version 2005.
Here is what we want from you:
* Predict who you think will finish 1 through 5 in the Big Ten race, with #1 being the champion.
* Predict Iowa's 2005 REGULAR SEASON record. The regular season consists of 11 games, so predictions that include a hypothetical bowl outcome will be discarded UNLESS you separate that prediction from a stated 11 game prediction.
* If Iowa qualifies for bowl eligibility next season, which bowl game do you think it will be? The National Title game is the Rose Bowl this year, so to play in the Granddaddy of them All, Iowa will have to be ranked 1 or 2 in the final BCS poll. So do not select them to play in the Rose Bowl unless you feel they will be playing for the National Championship game.
The other six conference affiliated Bowl games are the Cap One, Outback, Alamo, Sun, Music City and Motor City. Big Ten teams can also be selected to play in the three other BCS games, and those are the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta.
If you would like to add a comment or two that MIGHT be sampled for our upcoming magazine, feel free to do so. If you don't have a problem with some of your comments being included in the magazine, leave your first name, last initial and the town in which you live.
The first person who responds to this post that correctly predicts all three categories will win a signed February 2005 Cap One Commemorative Issue, with Warren Holloway on the cover.
That might sound like a difficult trifecta, but based on last year's predictions, someone will probably accomplish the feat. If no one does that, we will still award the prize to the person that comes the closest, with the Big Ten order of finish being the tiebreaker.
For example, if you correctly predict Iowa's record and bowl game, and hit the first four Big Ten teams in order of finish, and no one else hits five and you are the first person to submit your entry on the message boards, you will win. If no one hits four and gets three, the same applies. We will pare down the entries until we find a winner.
The deadline for entries to be eligible for the contest is May 14th.
As was previously stated in this post, yours truly and my family made the move from Shawnee, Kansas to West Des Moines. I am very excited about this move, as I was spending a lot of time in the Des Moines area last year, which included my duties as Jim Zabel's co-host on 1040 WHO's ‘Soundoff', a role that I am looking forward to filling again in 2005.
The move back to the ‘homeland' made sense and I look forward to living in the biggest media market in the state of Iowa. Though my family and I will miss the KC Area, this should be a lot of fun for us as well as the Hawkeye Nation.
Look for golf outings, game watches, recruiting ‘Town Hall Meetings' and much more across the great state of Iowa during the coming sports year.
My wife and I are still unpacking some boxes this week, but I will certainly see you around the Hawkeye Nation…thanks as always for your support.