The Shadow Knows Recruiting

What Fourth of July weekend would be complete without a few hours on a houseboat with my Dark Friend? Fishing equipment was there presumably as a decoy as the beer cooler was in a far more prominent location. This was a booze cruise rather than an angler's tour of a fishing hole. However, as always, I was on my own fishing expedition to find out what news and views he would be willing to share.

My notes might have been more complete if the number of beers had been less. Fortunately, I did write down the salient points. Following is what I was able to decipher from a long afternoon on the lake:

1. As we all suffer in the heat indexes of 100+ in Iowa, the football team is sweating like never before. Chris Doyle is a tough taskmaster and is giving great guidance to Iowa football training. However, the element that is driving the players to new training heights is the team leaders. There is a lot of confidence on this team. Being 9-6 in their last 15 games and with a big bowl game win over Texas Tech, players are focused on reaching new heights. Team leaders are making certain that everyone is doing all the proper work. Where will you be on January 1, 2003? These guys are planning on playing that day. Therefore, don't be booking any New Year's cruises. If you can't be at the game, you will at least want to be close to a TV.

2. Iowa has never been in on as many super blue chip players as they are now. The hard work of Coach Ferentz and staff will really pay dividends this recruiting year. In addition, a breakthrough season could be like Viagra to Iowa's recruiting. Up, up and away!

3. Iowa Central Community College is loaded with players that Iowa has recruited or at least has shown interest. Robert Taylor is The Man. He is now 6-4, 305 and as gifted athletically as any player that has ever played at this school in Fort Dodge. ICCC Coach Kevin Twait speaks very highly of Robert as having the ability to play Big Ten football. However, he needs to concentrate on playing hard every down. Taylor needs to pattern himself after a Jared DeVries that played all out on every play. Iowa has not offered Robert yet, waiting on his attitude adjustment and further growth development. He is doing well in his studies. A good sophomore year will undoubtedly mean that Robert is in the Hawk class next February.

4. Fellow Oak Creek native Jamaal Butler may not fare as well as Robert. Coach Twait said that while Jamaal has an outstanding burst of speed, he doesn't run well between the tackles. His high school ran the wishbone offense, where Butler received a lot of pitches to the outside. That led to many long runs and touchdowns that inflated Butler's numbers. His freshman year at ICCC was spent as a third team running back behind Corey Mack from Davenport West and Ben Spellman from West Des Moines Valley. Jamaal knows that he has to get tougher in order to play D1 football. Like Darius, however, he may be a Butler that didn't do it.

5. New Jersey native, Reggie Brown is a fullback at Iowa Central. He may lack the speed needed to play in the Big Ten. Iowa will take a close look at him this fall, though.

6. Former Hawk signee, Devon Clark was a January enrollee at Fort Dodge. Coach Twait can't wait to get Devon on the field. He's now 6-3, 190 and benches close to 300 pounds. Kevin wants to see that 10.6 100 meter, 47.8 400 meter speed on the field. He feels that Clark will be a dominant player in the conference. Since he has to go two full years at junior college, Devon would not begin at Iowa until January, 2004.

7. Super Blue high school prospect, Akim Millington, the 6-6, 320 pound giant from Wheaton, Illinois, has set his visit date for Iowa. He will be in for the Northwestern game on November 9th.

8. Kirk Ferentz certainly has not been the recipient of equal justice in terms of breaks or calls during his first three years at Iowa. Therefore, it is ironic that the staff feels that they lucked out when they nabbed a running back named Justise. Word from sources close to Kirk is that he loves Justise Hairston, an incoming freshman from Connecticut. This guy is already about 6-1, 210 pounds of trouble up the middle for opposing defenses. You won't hear his name this year though as the newcomer in the Iowa running game will be Jermelle Lewis.

9. Iowa has many wide receivers interested in matriculating under the watchful eye of Lester Erb. Therefore, a light better go on in Todd Blythe's head ASAP. Speed receivers from the East and the South would certainly compliment the big, rangy wide-out from Indianola. The sure handed Blythe could catch a lot of balls in a wide-open Iowa offense. Hello, Todd?

10. His parting comment as we reached the dock was to buckle up. I was startled as I had my life jacket on and was wondering what he could be referring to. The morning's bloodies and the afternoon's Budweiser's were slurring his speech as he admonished me that the Hawks would be running the ball down the middle behind a great offensive line. That will open up the outside for some big plays and vice versa. Anyway, by now it was deja-vu all over again with my friend.

The Shadow

7/7/ 2002

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