Hawks Offer Juco LB; Will Visit

Last year, the Iowa Hawkeyes offered Harper Junior College (Palatine, Ill.) linebacker Steve Octavien hoping to land him as a mid-year transfer. Octavien ended up choosing Nebraska over Iowa, but that hasn't stopped the Hawks from taking another crack at Harper this fall as they offered linebacker Bryon Gattas this week. Scout.com's Josh Clark caught up with Gattas to find out his reaction of his latest scholarship offer.

With a limited number of scholarship linebackers returning to the team after this season, the Iowa Hawkeyes could use some impact players at the position in the Class of 2006.

One route they elected to take this week was offering junior college linebacker Bryon Gattas.

"Everything happened so quickly; it was like a 24 hour process in which Iowa offered me," said Gattas. "I spoke with Coach (Lester) Erb first and then what impressed me even more was the fact that Coach (Norm) Parker called me a minute or two afterwards. They told me exactly what I wanted to hear in the fact that I'll have an opportunity to play early, and be properly coached."

This season was Gattas' first full year playing the linebacker position.

Gattas was a running back at Prospect High School where he then elected to continue his playing days at Truman State. After not feeling as comfortable as he thought he would with the small school setting, Gattas remained a student but looked for further opportunities.

"I thought I was going to try walking on some program, but after I sat down with my high school coach, he presented Rainey Harper College to me. I ended up at Harper where I started out as a fullback, and then late last year made a move to linebacker. It was a great move as everything worked out perfectly," stated Gattas.

Academics were never the question for Gattas, who scored a 31 on his ACT in high school.

"What Iowa told me they liked about me so much was the road I took to get myself where I'm at now," added Gattas, who officially visited Michigan State last weekend. "It told them that I work hard, and that I persevere through situations. They thought I'd be a good fit for their program with their need at linebacker. They told me they don't generally recruit junior college players due to academics, but they had no program recruiting me."

With only one year of playing experience at linebacker, Gattas says Norm Parker is a man he knows he could play for.

"Coach Erb was telling me that Coach Parker has coached 22 linebackers in the NFL. Obviously, they have the two All-Americans leaving this year. Coach Parker is just so knowledgeable about the game and he has so much he can share with you," said Gattas.

Gattas will make his second official visit to Kansas this upcoming weekend and says the Jayhawks are a program he is anxious to check out.

"Kansas loses five linebackers after this season and there is a lot of opportunity for me to play right away. They are a program on the rise which is evident with the steps they continue to take like making a bowl game this year. I just have to get down there to see how I comfortable I feel and find out the coaches plan for me," said Gattas.

Gattas officially visited Michigan State this past weekend and says the Spartans are a legitimate contender as well.

"Obviously, it is a Big Ten school so it is going to have Big Ten type aspects, but I was really impressed with Michigan State's facilities," added Gattas, who also holds offers from Miami (OH), Cincinnati, and Eastern Michigan. "I really like Coach (John L.) Smith and I believe he is doing the right things to take their program to the next level. They are on the verge of taking that next step right now."

Gattas will take one of his finals on Monday morning after returning from Lawrence and then will head to Iowa City for an early week official visit.

"I'm not a high school student; I've experienced plenty of college life at various places. I'm not worried about being at a place on the weekend and checking out the social life. This is strictly a business trip for me. I want to find out my surroundings and have the coaches inform me of how they plan to use me," stated Gattas.

Gattas will make his decision before December 21st which is the first day mid-year transfers can sign their letters of intent.


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