Iowa did not make much of a presence in the state of Illinois last year, but already the Hawks have extended more offers in Illinois than in their own state of Iowa. One of those prospects hails from Buffalo Grove, IL; that being ATH Tommy Zbikowski. Coach (Lester) Erb has really made a big effort in making Illnois more of a priority, and results will likely be shown next signing day.
Tommy has already made one trip this spring for a visit to Iowa City where Coach Ferentz brought the Zbikowski family into his office and offered a scholarship. Until the visit occurred, like many prospects, Tommy's interest in Iowa was not nearly as mutual. However, like the results of a visit to Iowa City usually accomplish, Tommy came away quite impressed.
"I really like Coach Erb," Tommy stated. "The whole coaching staff was good guys. They stressed to me about their strength & conditioning program and how they are now able to compete with the big boys in the Big Ten. They want to be one of the most physical teams and told me they are looking for tough minded players like myself. Iowa plays my type of football as I know they are going to recruit tough nosed guys like me."
Tommy will be visiting Lincoln this weekend for the Husker spring game, and also will be making trips shortly to Notre Dame and Northwestern. Tommy has gained offers, besides Iowa, from Nebraska, Northwestern, Illinois, and Bowling Green. All of the schools have promised to give him a shot at QB; except for Illinois.
"I grew up watching teams like Nebraska and Notre Dame through my childhood. I think Iowa has really turned their program in the right direction to become one of those programs. The strength & conditioning there has done a lot in making the program on the uprise."
As many Hawk fans have heard about, Tommy also excels in gold glove boxing. He has accumulated a 60-13 record during his high school career. In fact, he believes some of those skills help him out in the football field.
"Boxing helps me so much in my level of competition, mental toughness, and reflects on my stamina during a football game. It has just overall prepared me better for the football field. The position I play in college will likely determine whether I continue to box or not, but I plan to always at least keep the skills I have."
Although his height of 6'1/2, is not the prototype for Big Ten signal callers, Tommy's track record has helped prove that he is not to be judged on height alone. In addition, his mind is not short in realizing what he needs to do better in being a quarterback.
"I have a strong arm for my size, but I only started playing quarterback my freshman year in high school. There is still a lot that I'm learning as my comfort level is not perfect yet. I think the thing I really need to improve is my pocket presence as I'll often taking off running too soon."
Certainly, that will come with practice and maturity. Hawk fans have already seen a case of that with Brad Banks this past year and a half. Tommy will now take some more visits and get a better idea of where each school stands.
"Education will come first in my decision. I'm not decided on my major yet, but it will likely be something in business. Iowa is an upcoming program and Coach Ferentz is dedicated to getting the program built. I want to play for a coach that I know is staying at the program to continue to build more success. I do not want to play for a coach that will be leaving during my tenure."
Iowa will continue to build on last season's success this year, and hopefully will continue the success on the road of recruiting. Gaining the services of Tommy Zbikowski to add an Illinois dimension to the team will certainly go a long way in that direction.