On Reputation Alone: Broughton Loves Iowa

It's not very often you will see the Iowa Hawkeyes receive verbal commitments before a prospect even steps foot on campus. Often the biggest challenge that Iowa faces in recruiting is actually getting the prospect on campus. In the case of Dallas Hillcrest defensive end Braylon Broughton, all he needed to know was that Ron Aiken was the defensive line coach.

Due to the success of the Hawkeye football program in recent years, a lot has been written about Iowa's assistant coaches. Perhaps no assistant has received as much praise on the recruiting trails as defensive line coach Ron Aiken.

In talking with Hillcrest head coach Clayton George, he reinforced just how good…wait make that how great a job that Ron Aiken does at recruiting.

"I have known Ron Aiken since I was an assistant at Southlake Carroll and he was recruiting Scott Chandler," George said. "We have had a connection since then and I was able to tell Brayton that I had sent a player onto Ron before and that Coach Aiken is a good man. He is not only a good defensive line coach, but he will be an excellent role model in Braylon's life. I know one of the main reasons Braylon (Broughton) committed to Iowa was because of the bond he felt with Coach Aiken."

Coach Aiken not only wins the personality test on many occasions, but he also wins the homework test in beating many of his counterparts to the punch from the due diligence he performs before hitting the road or picking up the phone.

"Iowa, along with Kansas, were the first schools to offer Braylon last spring, and now since Braylon committed to Iowa, everyone is trying to join in. Now, Braylon has offers from Iowa State, Arizona, TCU, Baylor, and others. Coach Aiken was down here a few times last year to really express interest in Braylon and proved that he knew a good football player when he saw one," stated George.

Braylon Broughton has only played one year of high school football, which should make it even more evident to Hawkeye fans just how well Coach Aiken was able to spot his talent.

"Braylon transferred to a different school his sophomore year and the sport they recruited him to play was basketball," added George, who was unaware of what weekend Broughton will officially visit the Iowa campus. "He ended up not playing any sports. I became the head coach here in March 2004, and that fall, we literally had a 6'6 kid knocking on our door at the beginning of the year. Trust me, there have been a few coaches that have offered after just seeing him walk in the room and not even knowing what he can do on the football field."

Braylon has only played 16 games of football in his life including this season. Still, that hasn't stopped him from showing his talent on the field.

"He is a raw talent, but he has all the size, speed, and raw athleticism you would want to deal with on the defensive line. He is so good at pursuing the backside, and so many times I have seen him chase ball carriers from behind for a three yard loss. Sometimes the plays he makes seem kind of freakish, but he is still perfecting his technique all the time. He made vast improvements in that area and will still have work to do once he gets to Iowa," said George.

As is the case with any prospect in high school, expectations should always remain at a low level. What is more important than any scholarship from Iowa is the work that Braylon needs to perform in the classroom.

"I'm not going to lie to you; Braylon is likely going to come down to the last minute. He has really been working hard though, and has been making improvements in the classroom," concluded George.

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