HN's 7th Annual Recruiting Class Recap

With signing day upon us, it's time once again for our 7th Annual Recruiting Class Recap, our look at the current recruiting class from a number of perspectives.

With signing day upon us, it's time once again for our 7th Annual Recruiting Class Recap, our look at the current recruiting class from a number of perspectives.

First, here are some interesting aspects and themes that emerged out of the Class of 2006:

19 Commits from 12 States: Once again, Iowa went far and wide to find the players who would fill out its recruiting class. The states of Michigan (counting Julian Smith), Ohio & Illinois lead the way with three commits while Iowa landed two prospects from Missouri and Florida. The Hawks landed just one prospect from the state of Texas this year, an area that has been fertile recruiting ground in recent years. There were no Michigander's on Iowa's roster in 2005.

Zero Commits from the State of Iowa: This is technically corrected, as Davenport's Julian Vandervelde will grey shirt and will be a part of the class of 2007. Look for the Hawkeyes to land several instate preps next year, along with the already committed Vandervelde. Iowa only offered one instate prospect this year, Ames' Austen Arnaud who committed to Iowa State.

Lots of Linebackers: Some experts believe that the best athletes on a high school football field play linebacker or running back. If that's the case, Iowa landed a lot of athletes this year as eight of its commits spent some time at LB this past year. Players like Derrick Smith and A.J. Edds might move on to different positions next year, however.

Emphasis on Wide Outs: Anthony Bowman, Dominique Douglas, Paul Chaney and James Cleveland played receiver last year fall in high school. Chaney might get a look at cornerback while at Iowa, but the other three are slotted for offense from the outset. Cleveland is already on campus and is playing catch with Jake Christensen each day.

A Glenville Tradition? Iowa landed two prospects from Glenville, Ohio, Ted Ginn Senior's powerhouse prep team. His 2005 Summer Bus Tour stopped in Iowa City and it appears to have paid dividends. Ginn will be stopping by Iowa City again this summer with another busload of talented preps. This program has produced recent Big Ten stars the likes of Ohio State's Tedd Ginn Junior and OSU QB Troy Smith, among other stars. This is a very, very good relatationship to have started. Now, that is not to say that Iowa is going to have its pick from the school, not with the home state Buckeyes in the hunt for the blue chip prospects. But it will certainly be some eyes from Glenville on the Iowa program, never a bad thing. Iowa also continued its pipeline to Millard North High School in Nebraska when Jeff Tarpinian was the first prospect to pledge his allegiance to the Hawks as a member of the Class of 2006 way back on June 27th, 2005.

Speed Kills: Here is a link to Iowa's Class of 2006 from Scout.com: CLICK HERE. When you look at the class, take a look at the 40-times that are listed. Even after adding one-tenth of a second to those times, one can see that this is a class that is underscored by its speed on the whole. Sure, it's not as highly rated as last year's consensus top ten group, but it appears to be full of raw athletes that can run like the wind. Paul Chaney of St. Louis takes the speed award, as he is the reining 100 & 200-meter champion in the state of Missouri and runs a legit 4.40 forty-yard dash.

Now we will take a crack at answering some of the questions that Kirk Ferentz will no doubt field during tomorrow's 4pm press conference. He will probably answer some of them, but perhaps not all of them as frankly as some folks would like; that's why we are here.

THE BLUE CHIP: Who are the studs of the class? Well, this one is always a slippery wicket. Stars are for fun and rankings are for entertainment; Iowa has proven that its about identifying and developing talent. But based on the information we have, Adrian Clayborn might well be the ‘paper tiger' of this group. He is rated by Scout.com and Rivals.com as the best prospect in the state of Missouri and he spurned the home state Tigers in choosing Iowa. Agile enough to play linebacker at 6-3, 245-pounds, Clayborn is going to be something special as a rush end once he puts his hand on the ground. He will get the chance to play next year, but with the development of Bryan Mattison and Ken Iwebema during the 2005 season, there might not be a need if they stay healthy. A redshirt year could be a great thing for Clayborn, setting himself up for a backup role in 2007 and then a potential three-year run as a starter. Jeremiha Hunter is also a four-star player and he was a welcomed surprise commitment to Iowa just five days before Signing Day.

THE NEXT CHAD GREENWAY: I don't mean the person that will be the next to have a career as decorated as Greenway; that would be unfair. What I am talking about is the next player to come from nowhere, who nobody wanted, who might have a chance to be a real good, extra-heartbeat performer for Iowa the way that Greenway was. There are a few options to choose from in this class, but the one that jumps out at me is Karl Klug of Caledonia, Minnesota.

Way back in the summer time, my cousin, who is involved with the Southeast Polk Football program, saw Klug play while Southeast was at a Minnesota team camp. He emailed me when he got back and told me that Karl Klug was the best player they had seen that summer and that he had that special heartbeat and was a man among boys. He played linebacker in high school, but his future appears to be on the defensive line, namely defensive end. With apologies to my cousin, I am taking liberty to share with you what he wrote to me on July 20th, 2005, well before the message board communities had a sniff of him. I only wish I had posted about him after getting this email, or I might have looked smarter than I am:

Jon--- SEP (Southeast Polk) just got back from the U of South Dakota team camp. It was a live camp -- full contact scrimmages against teams from MN, SD, Nebraska, and Iowa.

We saw a player that was one of the best we had seen in many years. I believe his name was Klug-- and he was from Caledonia, MN. He stands about 6'3" and weighs about 220. He ran a 4.5 in the tests. He played TE, RB and DE. He was absolutely unblockable and I would see him being a DE in college.

I had heard that UNI was in heavy on him but he had recently been receiving contacts from Iowa and ISU. I guess my point in writing this is because there are kids like him out there that few have heard about that are truly players. This kid is a ‘Kampman-type' player with a motor that doesn't stop. He definitely could play D1.

Sound anything like Greenway, who was 6-4, 205-pound and from nine-man football when he came to Iowa? By the way, Norm Parker knew after Greenway's first year that he was going to be something special. Hopefully he gets the same vibe from Klug. Maybe we should call this the ‘Next Mitch King' segment, as Klug sounds a lot like the quick and elusive King, too.

THE NEXT BOB SANDERS STORY: Again, I am not talking about someone who looks to be the player that Sanders was for Iowa, as #33 would make Iowa's all-time team as a starter. I am talking about his story, specifically his lack of recruiting interest from any high-major program save the Hawkeyes. There are a few candidates for this one, too, but Lakeland, Florida's Troy Johnson just jumps out at me here. Here is a prospect, at 6-3, 210-pounds who runs a 4.6 forty and played on the USA Today's national championship high school football team, and he had nary a high major offer other than the one from Iowa. He was the leading tackler on that team, recording nearly 200 stops. How does this happen? Or better yet, how is it that Iowa is the team that is constantly finding these diamonds in the rough? Something tells me that in two years, we are going to be hearing this kid's name being called out as the next great kickoff team performer which is usually a one-way ticket to success in Iowa's two-deep roster.

MOST LIKELY TO PLAY IN 2006: James Cleveland, Bryon Gattas and Julian Smith are all enrolled at Iowa right now. That means they are working out as members of the program and will go through spring drills come late March when they begin. That gives this trio a big time jump on their fellow classmates, but their positions also will help their causes. Iowa loses Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge, and Gattas and Smith will both vie for time and those vacated slots, with Gattas getting a look in the inside and Smith on the outside. The Hawkeyes also lose receivers Ed Hinkel and Clinton Solomon to graduation, so Cleveland's early enrollment (he is the first ever mid-year prep transfer under Kirk Ferentz) will allow him to get his head in the playbook before and during spring, vastly improving his chances to play. The old adage is that the farther away from the ball you are, the better your chance is of playing as a freshman. I am tempted to throw Anthony Bowman's name into the ring, due to his blazing speed and possibly help in Iowa's kickoff return game, which was one of the worst in America last year. Albert Young was slated for such duties as a true freshman until he suffered a broken leg before the first game of the year.

THE FISH THAT BROKE THE LINE: Iowa had verbal commitments from CB Jay Valai and DL Braylon Broughton at one point in time, but Valai, who told the Iowa City Press-Citizen at the time of his commitment that God wanted him to be a Hawkeye, is expect to sign with Wisconsin today. Broughton is expected to sign with Arizona. RB Stanley Havili seemed like a promising commitment at one point in time due to the fact that Tony Moeaki is his cousin, but he recently committed to USC.

THE CURSE OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE IS BROKEN: In recent years, if Iowa was involved with a prospect that was going to hold a press conference to announce his intentions, it meant that the prospect was going somewhere else. This year, A.J. Edds and Jeremiha Hunter each held press conferences and announced they would attend Iowa.


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