Iowa Eyes In State Talent Sweep

Now that Iowa has David Barrent in the fold after his late week commitment, what are the chances of a ‘clean sweep' of the top in state talent? Barrent, WR Keenan Davis and ATH Brandon Wegher are all 'four star' prospects, and WR Jordan Cotton is ranked in the Top 100 nationally at his position. Could Iowa land all four of these players? Might a future Hawkeye offense have a big Iowa flavor?

Now that Iowa has David Barrent in the fold after his late week commitment, what are the chances of a ‘clean sweep' of the top in state talent?

Barrent is a ‘four star' prospect as rated by Scout.com and other websites that have similar ranking systems. As I have said for a long, long time, I place more value in who else has offered a school than I do how many stars a kid has by their name.

More often than not, however, a kid with several offers from BCS conference schools is also going to have more stars beside his name. Funny how that works out, don't you think?

Scout.com ranks Barrent among the Top 25 tackle prospects in the nation. West Des Moines Valley is primarily a running team, so Barrent does most of his work plowing open holes for running backs.

Barrent will be a key building block for Iowa's future offensive line and offensive unit, one that could have a Hawkeye State flavor at several key positions.

Keokuk quarterback James Vandenberg was a member of Iowa's Class of 2008, and he should be competing for the starting job in two years. He could be throwing to a pair of fellow Iowans if things break right on the recruiting front this year.

WR Keenan Davis of Cedar Rapids is a player that Iowa desperately needs to sign in February. Not ‘desperately' from the standpoint of him being a program maker or breaker, but he is a ‘four star' prospect that lives just 25 miles away from Kinnick Stadium, and receiver is a position that Iowa has struggled with on the recruiting front during the Kirk Ferentz era. In fact, one could argue that receiver has been Iowa's biggest recruiting challenge. Scout.com ranks him as the 13th best receiver in the nation.

Getting Davis in the fold would serve a host of ‘needs'; one, being a gamebreaker at that position, the next being Iowa would keep one of its best prospects in state despite Davis being courted by a number of solid programs.

Davis currently has offers from Colorado, Kansas, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Illinois and Iowa, among others. None of those schools have been ‘receiver factories' as it comes to putting pass catchers in the NFL.

The last ‘big time' receiving prospect to come out of the state of Iowa as Adrian Arrington, also from Cedar Rapids, and he went to Michigan.

Iowa has since made a coaching change at the position, with the hire of Erik Campbell from Michigan this off season. Campbell has quickly become a favorite of the players, and he can certainly speak the language to receiving prospects, having mentored so many players at Michigan that found their way to the NFL.

The state of Iowa has another national Top 100 receiving target this year, and he lives less than an hour south of Iowa City; Mt. Pleasant's Jordan Cotton. He currently holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Wisconsin.

Cotton is 6-1, 170 while Davis is 6-3, 190. If Iowa could land both of these players, you could be looking at a pair of bookend receivers that could see the field early and often in their careers and help Iowa solve the receiving riddle that has puzzled them for a long, long time.

The state has another nationally ranked prospect in the form of Brandon Wegher from Sioux City. Scout.com ranks him as a ‘four star' prospect and the 16th best running back in the nation. He is 5-11, 187 pounds and has run a 4.43 second electronically timed 40-yard dash.

He holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Auburn, Nebraska, Penn State, Texas Tech, Illinois and Kansas.

Where Wegher will play in college will depend on the school he signs with, and though he would ultimately like to carry the ball in college, he is most definitely open to playing defensive back. It seems that his desire to see the field early is stronger than his desire to play a specific position.

If I had to rank Iowa's chances of landing the three remaining unsigned top players in the state we have mentioned, with Iowa best chance listed first and going in descending order, it would be Cotton, Davis and then Wegher.

The Hawks would love to sign all three to go along with Barrent; I don't know that it will happen.

But I think Iowa signing three of the top four prospects in the state this year is not a far fetched scenario. And if they landed all four, to go along with James Ferentz and James Vandenberg from a year ago, we could be looking at at least two fifths of the starting line, both receivers, a quarterback and a running back from the Hawkeye state on the field at the same time in the years ahead.

Other ‘in-staters' to keep an eye on:

Kyle Lichtenberg, OL from Bettendorf: He has an offer from Iowa State and both of his parents attended ISU; his father played football while his mother played volleyball. He plans to make a decision by the end of the summer.

Jake Knott, LB from Waukee: I had the chance to watch Knott play against Ankeny in the first round of the playoffs. Ankeny was a machine last year, like they always are under longtime coach Jerry Pezzetti. But Knott clearly stood out in the game for Waukee, and he might have the versatility to play on both sides of the ball at the college level.

Cody Matthewson, ATH, Madrid: Madrid is a small school powerhouse in the state of Iowa, one of the most dominant running teams in the Midwest. Matthewson plays running back for Madrid, but he might project at safety at the college level. He is 6-2, 193 pounds and runs a 4.5 forty. He does not have any BCS conference offers as of yet, but believes he has the talent to play at that level. He intends to camp at Iowa this summer.

Eric May, TE, Dubuque Wahlert: May is 6-4, 205 pounds and is a great athlete. I had the good fortune of being in Wells Fargo arena when May sank a near 40-foot buzzer beater to lift his team to the 3-A state championship over Harlan back in March. He is going to have offers to play basketball in at least the Missouri Valley Conference level. Will basketball win out over football? That is the big question.


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