The Shadow was in Des Moines on Sunday to snoop around the FutureStars Shootout and to visit friends. I met him for breakfast at the Urbandale Cafe on Monday morning. After polishing off a double order of blueberry pancakes soaked in maple syrup, he finally looked up as he sipped his coffee. Since his pie hole was sated, he had the energy to speak up. This is what he offered:
1. Although I never thought that the Hawks had a very good chance to get Devin Smith before this weekend, I think they have a good chance now. He didn't commit to Kansas over the weekend, so we are in the hunt.
Devin Smith is more familiar with the Iowa staff than the KU staff. Greg Lansing has done an excellent job with Devin. In addition, Smith really likes Steve Alford. That comradarie has played a big part in getting the visit. Hopefully, when Devin comes in this weekend the intangibiles (weather), and the givens (spring game crowd and the special Hawkeye atmosphere) will assist the staff in convincing him that Iowa is the place for him. To paraphrase what NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue will be saying at the NFL Draft next Saturday, "Iowa is on the clock!"
2. Chad Greenway is going to be the type of outside linebacker that Iowa hasn't had before. There is still work to be done as he is not yet a polished product. However, think back to the great Miami team that destroyed the Nick Bell led Hawks. Remember Jesse Armstead, the 220 pound rocket flying in from the outside? That is the type of player that Greenway may be destined to be. Certainly, already his sideline to sideline ability is on display.
3. Abdul Hodge will back up Fred Barr at MLB this year. He doesn't have Fred's savvy yet, but he brings great speed to the middle and he hits like a Mack truck. His desk plaque should read "The run stops here!"
4. Edmond Miles. Cookie Cutter of Abdul Hodge.
5. Attention Matt Roth! Read #3 and #4. Think about your options. Defensive end doesn't look so bad now, eh?
6. Brad Banks. This is where I may go a little nuts, so please give me some slack. Banks is the type of quarterback that Hayden always wanted but couldn't convince on making the trek to Iowa City. Brad has the athletic ability to lead Iowa to 9 or ten wins next season! The complicated, 200+ play offense has started to click in Brad's mind. Remember, like a freshman, last year was his first year at Iowa. As he learns even more of the offensive nuances this spring and summer, he could become what Iowa has never had in a field general. His running ability will stretch the field from sideline to sideline. This will make it much easier for the bevy of running backs to run up the middle. Add the outstanding Iowa offensive line to the equation and feet so fleet Fred and you get big plays up the middle.
Since Banks can throw the ball 50 yards standing flatfooted, his arm strength has never been in question. His accuracy this spring has proved to be very proficient. His improvement will come in when and where to throw and not throw. He also has the summer to work out with receivers that are much better than advertised.
7. In-state recruiting of offensive linemen won't be as bountiful as the last two years. That may in part be due to Iowa raiding a border state. Illinois is loaded with lineman and the staff is focused on getting some. Martin O'Donnell, Kevin Gage, and James Ryan are some of the names to remember.
8. Speaking of feet so fleet, those in the Des Moines area the week after the spring game should plan on attending the Drake Relays. Seeing Calvin Davis run the 200 or a 200 leg is worth the price of admission. Truly a man among boys.
9. The Shadow was absent from these pages during January and February after he told me that he didn't have a good feeling on some of the star players that Iowa was seeking. He didn't know for sure, just his ESP. He loves the Iowa staff and how hard they work.
10. However, this year Iowa lost kids after the first winning season of this staff. Next recruiting year, after a 9-4 or better season, the Force and those intangibles will work in Iowa's favor.
Get ready for a banner year!
Are you ready for some football?
Make sure to stop by the tailgate on Saturday with Josh, 0044, Sriles and a few surprise guests that Josh will report on later in the week.