Vandervelde: Commits, Ultimate Team Player

THe Iowa football program is a lot of things, but their commitment to an overall team philosophy ranks at the top of their accomplishemnts in recent years. Last year was a clear picture of that, as Iowa's running back corps were decimated by injuries, yet somehow the team still managed to finish #8 in the nation. Julian Vandervelde from Davenport (Central) already gets Iowa's team concept, as he illustrated his willingness to be a team player when he made his Iowa commitment today.

The Iowa Hawkeyes capped a busy recruiting week on Friday when they gained the anticipated commitment of Julian Vandervelde of Davenport Central.

The 6-4, 280-pound lineman gave Iowa his verbal commitment today.

"I told Iowa today that I was going to commit to them, and I have to tell you that it felt pretty great." Vandervelde said. "I have been going to Iowa games since I was little, and going to the games with my mother are some of my best memories of growing up. They were not as good back then as they are now, but that does not make the memories any less special."

As he entered this past spring, Vandervelde knew that he had to take things up a notch if he wanted to fulfill the lifelong dream of playing for the Hawkeyes.

"I knew that I needed to impress Iowa at the June camp, because I did not have a very good season as a junior. So knowing that, I really went in there and gave it all that I had." Vandervelde said. "When they told me earlier this week that they were offering me a scholarship, it was a dream come true."

In accepting Iowa's offer, Vandervelde turned down a full ride to one of the more prestigious academic institutions in America, Stanford.

"I never could have dreamed that I would turn down a full ride from a school like Stanford, but Iowa's academic support is better than what I would have received at Stanford, so I know that I made the best choice for me on and off the field." Vandervelde said.

"My mother is probably more excited than I am, though I am very excited. Iowa is just so close to home, and Stanford would have been far away."

Though he just committed, Vandervelde is already showing that he is a team player by accepting a grey shirt offer.

"The Iowa coaches told me they really liked what I did this summer, and that they were willing to offer me a scholarship in this year's class. But they explained to me that they have so few scholarship opportunities this year, that there was another option they wanted me to consider, which was the grey shirt option. They explained that and how it could really help them out if I felt Iowa was the right place, so that is the option that I chose to pursue." Vandervelde said.

A grey shirt means that he will be a part time student at Iowa in the fall of 2006, and become a scholarship athlete at the beginning of the spring semester of 2007, able to play four years of football with five years to do so like any other scholarship player.

I just think that this was the best route. Anything to help the program is what I am about, plus it will allow me to acclimate to life on campus and in the classroom better than if I were a full time student.

Technically, Vandervelde becomes the first known commitment in Iowa's Class of 2007.

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