You may recall last month where I wrote a story on Jacksonville quarterback Tim Tebow, in which he revealed he was leaving for a mission trip in the Philippines in early July. Luckily I had caught him in time, but this time around I wasn't so lucky.
"I'm sorry, Brandon is currently on a mission in Puerto Rico, and won't be returning until this Saturday," replied his mother when I called the Stephens home on Monday.
After introducing myself to his mother, she asked if I would like to talk to Brandon's father, Vince, who was in attendance when the ‘bus tour' stopped at the Iowa camp with Brandon. Vince helped to orchestrate the busload of future division one players.
After the fact, I was glad that I was able to speak with Vince before talking with Brandon, as he proved to be a fair and objective father, in addition to being genuine and sincere with his comments.
"You know, we had taken that busload of kids around to so many camps, and obviously made a stop at Iowa," Vince Stephens said. "The Iowa coaches called Coach Ginn a few days after the camp was over to let him know they wanted to make my son an offer. Ted later relayed that to me and I later spoke with the Iowa coaches to confirm the offer. Iowa is Brandon's first offer, and that is quite a statement right there."
Here is the part that makes Hawks get excited.
"It was an overwhelming feeling for our family, for Brandon to receive an offer of that magnitude," continued the elder Stephens. "The biggest impact on Brandon had to be the people in Iowa City. He saw so much sincerity and genuine desire to help convert him into an excellent football player and an excellent man of character. He heard the stories of how everyone rallies around the Hawkeyes, and for days after returning home all he could talk about was Iowa."
Here is the part that Iowa fans have heard before.
"Brandon is really waiting to see if any of the Ohio schools will recruit him," stated Vince when asked what was holding Brandon back from committing to Iowa.
"Brandon attended the Ohio State camp and had some ankle problems which really hampered his performance. We believe it was from all the stress from track and the fact it was the last camp they had attended. Ohio State really hasn't had much correspondence thus far, but we are hoping to see if that changes after his first three games this fall. We just continue to pray that doesn't mean we are waiting too long, though," said Stephens.
Even if an offer from Ohio State should come at some point, Iowa has still set themselves up well in the battle for Brandon's talents.
"I asked Brandon if the entire nation was to recruit him, who would be his top schools," Vince continued. "He said Ohio State and Iowa, but he made sure to mention Iowa right there alongside Ohio State. I think that shows where they have risen since making an offer and that impression on him while he was at camp."
There may even be a few others connections that may serve as aces in the hole for Iowa in this process.
"Coach Ginn, despite having his son play at Ohio State, speaks very highly of Iowa and encourages everyone to strongly consider their program. Brandon's high school coach, Coach Jaacks, is a friend of Phil Parker's and really likes Iowa. We know we are so fortunate to have Brandon taught so well on the prep level by Coach Jaacks, and we know the same could be expected with Coach Parker on the collegiate level," remarked Stephens.
The offer proves Brandon performed well at Iowa's camp, and the Iowa coaches made it clear to the Stephens family as to what impressed them so thoroughly.
"They were real impressed with how he played without motion, which I took as meaning no stammering of his feet, no side-to-side hesitation, and really just executing without wasted motion. Coach Parker liked the fact he kept his arms loose while backpedaling and thought he turned his hips very well," Stephens said.
Brandon measured in at 5-11 and 175 pounds at the Iowa camp, as well as turning in a 4.50 forty yard dash time.
"Obviously those numbers didn't stop the Hawkeye coaches from making an offer," replied Stephens, a former football player at Brown University who spent three years in camp with the Dallas Cowboys as a running back.
Was Vince surprised that Iowa was the first program to make an offer to his son?
"It is something that really raises a few eyebrows, that is for certain," Stephens fired back. "Certainly, that is why we are so grateful that God gave him the gift of playing football, and are certainly appreciative that Iowa saw those talents in our son. You talk about the level of that program and how they've competed on a national stage the past few years, and it is pretty exciting to know Brandon has been offered."
Now it will be a wait and see game for Iowa; will Ohio State offer, or won't they? Fellow cornerback target, Glenville's Royce Adams, remains high on the Hawks and has an Iowa offer, but an Ohio State offer could prevent the Hawks from landing his signature.
Iowa certainly has created great awareness in the state of Ohio, and has given several Buckeye State preps another Big Ten power to consider in addition to the usual suspects of Ohio State and Michigan, the two schools who land most of the talent from that state on an annual basis.
Iowa landed Avon Lake's Trey Stross last year, and he received an Ohio State offer after verbally committing to Iowa last June, in addition to securing the commitment of BJ Travers who had nearly 30 offers, including one from USC.