While Coach Ferentz and his staff have tried to stay away from the Juco route, they simply have not been able to ignore some of the talent found at North Iowa Area Community College.
At the end of their season last year, they added mid-year transfer offensive lineman Marshal Yanda, who currently starts at right tackle. This fall, it appears they have set their sights on yet another NIACC prospect in defensive end Eric Young.
"Iowa just began contacting me around three weeks ago," stated Young. "All three of our defensive assistants played at Iowa, including my position coach, Jerry Montgomery. They sent my tape down to Coach (Ron) Aiken, and he was very impressed with it. He has been calling me every week since then, and invited me down for an official visit on the weekend of the Minnesota game (Nov. 19th)."
While the Hawkeyes are interested, it appears they will not be making a scholarship offer.
"Coach Aiken told me they are starting two sophomore defensive ends right now and that they can't afford to offer a junior college defensive end as they don't normally like to recruit Juco players. He said they really like me and want me to be a part of the program though, so they are recruiting me as a preferred walk-on," said Young.
Young recorded 17 sacks as a freshman last year and while he was only able to record seven sacks this season, his play improved immensely which caught the eye of the Iowa staff.
"I've learned more in my life from Coach Montgomery than any other coach I've ever dealt with," continued Young, who after graduating in December will have three years to play two. "He is an unbelievable coach and he has taught me so much from rushing the passer to stopping the run. He taught me how to use my hands properly, how to effectively bull rush, and many other things."
In having Montgomery, Fred Barr, and Chic Ejiasi as assistants at NIACC, Young has been able to pick up on a similar defense to what Iowa runs.
"They implemented an Under 8-3 defense here, which is what Iowa runs, but obviously Iowa runs it a lot more advanced. I really like playing in the system, and I know Iowa likes the fact I have experience with it, too. They told me I would come in to contribute on special teams, and that I could get 20 to 30 snaps every game, too," stated Young.
While Young plans to seriously consider the option of walking on the Hawkeye program, he has two other scholarship offers to mull over.
"I officially visited Eastern Michigan last weekend, and they offered," added Young, a native of Shiocton, Wisconsin. "I'm visiting Eastern Illinois this weekend, and they've offered, too. I really would like for Wisconsin to recruit me, and I just spoke with Coach (Bret) Bielema last week, and we sent him out tape. Obviously, having offers is going to make it even that tougher on deciding whether to walk-on at Iowa."
Young has spoken with current Hawkeye Yanda and likes what he has heard. Still, there is one issue that could be the deciding factor.
"Marshal told me that Iowa would be perfect for me because he knows my work ethic. I was only 200 pounds as a freshman, and I'm up to 235 pounds now. He told me I would thrive in their program. Iowa is where I would like to go, but it'll be important for me to find out whether I'll be able to pay in-state tuition or not, also," stated Young.
For now, Young will look forward to what he can learn about the Hawkeye program on his upcoming official visit.