Vandervelde Still Excited to Be a Hawkeye

All indications point to just two remaining recruiting targets for Iowa's Class of 2006; LB Jeremiha Hunter and CB Franchot "Boogie" Allen. That has left the Iowa staff some time over the past two weeks to travel around the country and meet one last time with their current commitments. On Wednesday afternoon, it provided Kirk Ferentz an opportunity to meet with the lone in-state commitment this fall, Davenport Central offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde.

The Iowa Hawkeyes currently sit at 17 known verbal commitments in the Class of 2006. With earlier expectations of a class size around 20 to 21, some have been left wondering if perhaps the Hawkeyes would elect to make Julian Vandervelde (6'3 290) a member in the Class of 2006.

After all, Vandervelde is the lone in-state prospect to commit to the Hawkeyes in 2005. Despite that fact, it was agreed upon by the Hawkeye coaching staff and the Vandervelde family that Julian would grey-shirt at Iowa.

What a grey-shirt consists of is the fact that Julian will not sign his letter of intent next week like the members in the Class of ‘06, and will not be a part of the team next fall. He will join the team in January 2007 as a mid-year transfer with still five years left to play four.

Ferentz made no mention of the Class of ‘06 to Vandervelde in their meeting, and according to Julian, he is glad he didn't.

Asked if he felt better about grey-shirting at Iowa now than he did when he originally chose to do so, he shared these sentiments.

"I really do feel better about grey-shirting," Vandervelde said. "When it was originally brought up to us we were all a little tentative. But as time has progressed and I've been put thought into it, I really believe I have made the best choice in grey-shirting at Iowa."

In his eyes, it is a two-way street in terms of who it benefits.

"It really benefits me because it gives me an extra half of year. I may not be on scholarship, yet, but I'll only be a part-time student and it will allow me to get adjusted to college life. It'll make my transition to joining the football team that much easier."

"What it does for Iowa is allows them to use a scholarship at a more crucial position because they have limited scholarships in this class. It also allows them to buffer time between last year's offensive line and me," Vandervelde stated.

Some Hawkeye fans have already penciled Vandervelde in at the center position set to eventually replace current freshman Rafael Eubanks.

While Center is a strong likelihood for the position he will play at Iowa, do not rule out him as a guard.

"Ever since I committed, Coach Ferentz has said he could see me as a guard or center," Vandervelde said.

"Center is probably more likely because they seem to have the least amount of depth there. Both Coach (Reese) Morgan and Ferentz have told me they really like my quick feet. More than anything, they said they really like my ‘coachability'. They will tell me what to do, I will do it, and I'll make sure I'm good at it. They won't have to tell me a second time."

Excitement seemed to swell up in Vandervelde one could tell this was a young man still thrilled about the thought of being an Iowa Hawkeye.

"I don't think the excitement is ever going to stop," he responded.

From there, Vandervelde told his own story.

"The feeling is indescribable right now, just how it feels to be a Hawkeye. Just the feeling of knowing I'm going to go play for Kirk Ferentz, Chris Doyle, all the coaching staff, and just play with the entire guys on the team. I don't think I could have these feelings anywhere else. I will do everything they ask of me, I will give me 100% effort and I'll never let up on anything."

Vandervelde had surgery on his foot immediately after the football season. He had broken a piece of the 5th metatarsal bone.

All is well, though, as Vandervelde returned to wrestling just one week ago.

"My ankle is still a little tender, but it's getting better. I'm just trying to get back in normal shape. I was doing some swimming during my rehab, but now my full intention will be on wrestling. I have to lose 18 pounds to get down to 275, as I got a bit overweight at 293," Vandervelde concluded.

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As mentioned, Vandervelde will be a part of the Class of 2007, leaving Iowa with no in-state commits for this year. However, Vandervelde will not be the lone native son of Iowa in next year's class. Introduces you to three in-state players to keep an eye on for next year and tells you about them:


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