James Ferentz, a 6-2, 250 pound OL/DL from Iowa City (Iowa) HS has given his verbal commitment to play for his father's team, the Iowa Hawkeyes. City High coach Dan Sabers took the time to talk about James and his commitment.
"I've been at this for 25 years and I've told people before that he's the best lineman I've worked with directly," Sabers said of Ferentz. "We've had some good ones thorough the past but James is one of those guys that can take over a ball game, especially on the defensive side. People better be ready to double-team him, or they're going to pay the price for it."
Sabers said that James has the talent to play either OL or DL, and that Iowa is looking at him for both positions.
Kirk Ferentz has always talked about how he believes a lineman's skill isn't necessarily tied to his size or quickness, but his understanding of the game. James has both the size and knowledge to excel at the next level.
"It's a combination," Sabers said when asked about James' strengths. "His savvy, he's well beyond his years for a high school player, as far as his savvy out there in the game. He understands the game, reacts to blocking, and his technique is awesome. His technique is ahead of the game. His overall strength is very impressive, but his leverage and technique are his real strong suits right now."
Having a two-time national coach of the year for a father obviously gives James a bit of an edge in learning the game of football, but Sabers said James hasn't taken his football knowledge for granted.
"Obviously you don't develop those [skills] unless you work at them," he said. "It's not like you play football year-round or anything like that. It's a credit to how hard he works and how bad he wants to play big-time college football. Those are just things that you have to go out and work on, make a commitment to yourself. James is very dedicated that way."
Being the coach's son may have deterred some schools from recruiting James, but Sabers said there was still plenty of interest from teams not called the Hawkeyes.
"He's gotten interest from a lot of different schools throughout the Midwest," he said. "Some schools out east as well. I think there was always some concern in the back of their minds, 'Is this one a done deal or not?'
"He's that good of a player, there's no question that he warrants interest from other schools. He was getting Big 12, Big East, as well as Big Ten schools."
We'll talk with James later today to get his reaction on his offer and commitment. Check back with HawkeyeNation tonight.
Brian Finley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
James Ferentz makes his choice
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