Miller: The Stars are Falling!

It seems like we do this every year. Some fans wring their hands with worry when Iowa gets a commitment from a player that has one or two stars attached to his name. Last week, when Iowa landed three recruits in one day, some of those fans came out and shared their concerns. Jon Miller writes that people should focus on the fact that these kids were targeted and offered at an early stage.

Flashback to last week, when Iowa landed three defensive backfield recruits on the same day.  Iowa fans were pumped for a lot of reasons.  One being that its rare when Iowa gets more than one commit on any given day, much less three.


Another reason the fans were happy is because Iowa certainly needs some help in the defensive backfield going forward, including this year; two unproven safeties will be starting for the 2007 Hawkeyes.  Next year, Iowa will be replacing two senior cornerbacks; Adam Shada and Charles Godfrey.  Hard to believe those guys are seniors already, isn't it?


One of those prospects, CB Demarco Paine from the St. Louis area, comes with some recruiting ‘acclaim; with regards to common scholarship offers.  Colorado, Kansas, Ole Miss and Indiana had an offer out to Paine.


The other two commits, S Jack Swanson and CB Shawn Prater had but one known offer, which of course was from Iowa.


Now it's that little factoid that has a certain section of the fan base a little sideways, scratching their head, concerned, or whatever you want to call it.  This portion of the fan base does not make up the majority, but it's a portion of the fan base that usually bemoans the one or two star verbals that Iowa gets each and every year.  Usually, those come in December or January, and the kids are applied with such unflattering labels like ‘fallback recruit.'


Well, as I see it, the calendar reads June 25th.   June, not January.  That means that the kids that have offers from Iowa right now are not likely ‘fallback' recruits.  These are players that Iowa has identified as being important to their overall recruiting efforts.


There are times when you will get these ‘early commits' from instate kids, people that are very familiar with your program.  Rarer has been the case when Iowa gets commits from kids at this time of year from the state of Florida, which is what happened with Swanson, who is from Naples, FLA.   Prater is from Nebraska.  Iowa's first commit in this year's class, Riley Reiff, is from South Dakota.  Of course, James Ferentz is from Iowa City, and has a good handle on the program.


Here is a look back at some June or earlier Iowa commits from recent years:


Class of 2003

-Mike Klinkenborg (April of 2002):  He wouldn't sign an LOI for another 10 months.  He was the first commit in his class.  He led Iowa in tackles last year and will push for all conference honors this year.


Class of 2004

-Matt Kroul (August of 2002, nearly 18 months early):  Three year starter on the defensive line. 

-Ted Bentler (October of 2002, nearly 16 months early):  Transferred from Iowa.

-Mitch King (April of 2003):  10 months early, potential four year starter on the defensive line

-Bradley Fletcher (April of 2003)

-Adam Shada (June of 2003)


Class of 2005

-Alex Kanellis (October of 2003, 16 months early)

-Marcus Wilson (June of 2004): Likely starter this year

-Trey Stross (June of 2004):  Will push for significant playing time, Army All American

-Jake Christensen (June of 2004):  Starting QB in 2007

-Kyle Calloway (June of 2004)


Class of 2006   

-Jeff Tarpinian (June of 2005):  He was the lone June or earlier commit in that class.


Class of 2007

-Colin Sandeman (May of 2006)

-Cody Hundertmark (May of 2006)

-Tyler Nielsen (May of 2006)

-Bryan Bulaga (May of 2006)


Nielson and Bulaga came with four-star ratings from  Sandeman was a four-star at the time of his commitment, Hundertmark a high three.


No one was saying that Bulaga was a fallback commit when Iowa got his verbal last spring, 9 months before signing day.  Yes, he carried four stars by his name, but time has shown star rankings to be less than fool proof, unless you are USC or Michigan landing five star kids.


Just because one service has Prater and Swanson as one star kids, and another one has them as two star kids isn't a reason for a call to arms.


Like Bulaga last year, all three of last week's verbal commitments came from kids that Iowa targeted and offered at a very early stage of the game, at positions of need.


When you look at Iowa's track record of identifying and developing talent during the Kirk Ferentz era, that leads me to be very excited about these kids, as opposed to focusing on how many stars they have by their name.


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