Johnson: Hawks Not Sweating Camp Cancellation

The Flood of 2008 has caused the cancellation of many activities in Eastern Iowa. Among them was Iowa's annual football camps. It raised a question about how that might impact the Hawkeyes' recruiting. spoke with coordinator Eric Johnson to find out what it might mean. He also speaks about what the program is targeting in this class, how the instate prospects look and more in this update.

The Flood of 2008 has scattered the Iowa Football Coaches around town just like everybody else on campus. Usually holding camps this week, they have adjusted their schedules with those events being canceled as the university recovers.

"We cannot be in our offices," said Recruiting Coordinator and Assistant Linebackers Coach Eric Johnson, who was driving his kids to school Thursday morning when we spoke.

"They've had security going through the offices to make sure nobody is in there so we save power and water for the hospital. I'm getting a little more daddy time this week."

Johnson said he and the other coaches are writing recruiting letters and evaluating tape this week. He does not see the absence of the camp as being a big setback in recruiting and it pales in comparison to what others are facing with the flood waters rising to record highs.

"The percentage of the guys that we offer out of our camps isn't great," he said. "Most of our stuff comes off of our film evaluation. The camp is just one part of the evaluation. Our concern is for the community and the university itself. We can easily adjust to not having our camps."

It's rare, if ever, that a player can earn a scholarship offer for standing out in a camp.

"In my opinion, we lose a small aspect of the evaluation," Johnson said. "A kid can look good for four hours a day or two days, but how is he on tape and how does he play in a game situation? We use camps as part of the evaluation process. But is it a major part of the evaluation process? No."

Prospects have appeared for the first time on the coaches' radar as the result of the camps, but that just begins the ball rolling, Johnson said.

"That has happened, but again, we'll always refer back to junior tape and then look at senior tape," he said. "Again, a kid could have a great day and not turn into a player. You've just got to be real careful about those spot shots of kids in the evaluation process."

Johnson said that the staff didn't miss out on presenting any new material to the campers with the cancellation.

"We basically do the same stuff we do in our individual drills," he said. "From a coaching standpoint, we don't really lose anything."

Iowa is pleased with how recruiting for the 2009 class is coming along, Johnson said.

"We're really focusing in on this one," he said. "We don't have a lot of numbers in this class. We don't have a lot of scholarships available. We're probably looking at somewhere between 12-14 total. That's the lowest we've had. We just have to be diligent with what we're doing and take it slow."

Iowa evaluates its needs in stages. They start right after signing day in February and then reevaluate after the spring, two-a-days and about midway through the season.

"In assessing kind of what we're thinking right now, it's going to be a more offensive-oriented class," Johnson said. "I'd say probably 75 percent of the class will be offense. With that being said, line is a focus. In a couple of years here, we're going to be losing a lot of offensive linemen. The line is a primary need for us.

"We have to build our depth at the running back position and a little bit at the wide receiver position. We have a lot of young guys. We just don't have numbers at the wide receiver position."

Johnson is very high on the instate crop for the '09 class.

"The instate group is very good. It's a strong class," he said. "Hopefully we'll be able to get the guys that we want out of the instate class."

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