First, let me once again preface any talk about stars with my standard statement; star rankings are as much about entertainment as anything else.
That being said, the Scout.com staff that compiles them (and I am certainly not included with that group) has seen many of the top players first hand, actually ranking the players based off of their analysis as a primary ingredient as opposed to perhaps how many offers a kid has and whom they are from.
I am not saying that Scout's ranking system is the best, just telling you what its backbone is made of.
Clearly, the performance that Tyler Nielsen, Cody Hundertmark and Colin Sandeman put on during Scout.com combine stop in Iowa City paid dividends for those three instate prospects, as they earned four star rankings when Scout revealed its early season rankings on Monday.
Nielsen was the top rated linebacker in the Midwest (and fourth rated linebacker in the country) and Sandeman the top rated receiver (and a top 20 receiver rating nationally).
Jordan Bernstine is another instate prospect, and he too lit things up at the Iowa City combine, and he too received four stars.
It has been some time when four players from Iowa received such high marks in the same year, if it ever has happened.
Getting the commitments of these instate players lays down a great foundation for putting together a highly rated recruiting class. That doesn't equate to dominance on the field per se, but when you look at the rosters of Texas and USC from this past year, four and five star players are the norm, not the exception.
Iowa has proven time and again during the Kirk Ferentz era that stars do not an all Big Ten performer make. Iowa has an eye for talent and the skills to develop said talent that rivals any program in America; the proof is in the pudding. So don't get too caught up in the star gazing.
Iowa's fourth known commit, Bryan Bulaga of Marion Catholic in Woodstock, Illinois, also received a four-star ranking.
Iowa's highly rated recruiting class from 2006 had a baseline of All Americans from Illinois. That was the year when Notre Dame fired Ty Willingham and Illinois head coach Ron Turner was a dead man walking. Then you had all of that talent, plus an early commitment from Jake Christensen who turned out to be quite the recruiter for the Hawkeyes, along with his father Jeff.
This year, the baseline talent appears to be the perhaps unprecedented number of highly rated prospects from the state of Iowa that have committed to the Hawkeyes, with Bernstine still on the line.
Don't forget Tyler Sash, either.
Another important aspect here is that all of these players have mutual offers from Iowa and Iowa State. This year is an anomaly in that area, too. In recent years, you would see Iowa State offering kids that Iowa did not offer, and Iowa offering some kids that Iowa State did not offer, from inside the state borders. Few players had common offers.
Things have been more obvious this year on that front.
If Bernstine doesn't end up at Iowa, it looks doubtful that he will be at Iowa State. Iowa and Iowa State are the two schools in competition for Sash, and he represents Iowa State's best chance at not getting shut out this year with regards to the first tier of instate prospects that have had early offers.
Iowa and Iowa State will each host their big camps later this month. There might be a in state player or two that emerges from those camps with mutual instate offers. June is still pretty early in the process, so don't think those kids are not legit if that happens.
More Rankings Fodder…
Take a look at this list of players that Iowa is involved with: CLICK HERE
20 players on that list received early four-star ratings from Scout.com. Of those 20, 16 of them have a scholarship offer from Iowa.
Dale Martin and Dave Molk, both from Illinois, are certainly players that you will want to remember, as they both have Iowa very high on their lists. Josh Brent, Jordan Bernstine and Kevin Rouse are also players to watch from that list of 20.