Iowa Adds Two Offensive Back Commitments

The Iowa Hawkeyes not only received the news of their Orange Bowl berth this weekend, but also gained two offensive back commitments. Champ Davis and A.J. Johnson make commitment #10 and #11 for the Hawkeyes in the Class of 2003. Look for the class to grow to around 23 new Hawkeye additions this Feburary.

The Hawkeyes continued to stockpile quality commitments this recruiting season with the additions of Champ Davis and A.J. Johnson. Both prospects end a two year drought the Hawkeyes have suffered in signing an offensive back.

"The coaches at Iowa were real truthful people," said Johnson who is one of many recruits to comment on the Hawkeye coaching staff honesty. "There was a great amount of unity on the team. The town was lovely and so was the campus. I will also be able to earn a degree in sports management, and take classes in leisure studies."

It just so happens that both recruits' hosts on their visits ended up making a big difference in Iowa's move to the front.

"Knowing Mike Follett and having him shown me around had a big imnpact," Champ stated. "It will be good knowing I get to play with former teammates like Mike and Alex (Willcox), and with guys I know like Blake Larsen. They all seemed to be one big family, and that was important to me knowing I'd be far from home and my family."

"Jermelle Lewis was my host," Johnson added. "He told me how wonderful the program and city were, and the fact that he messed up academically. The people in Iowa City helped him get back on track, and he told me the coaches showed him true love. That let me know that if I make a mistake, they will give me a second chance."

Johnson, who rushed for a little over 1200 yards and 17 touchdowns this fall, was a previous commitment to Illinois.Was it hard to change schools within the Big Ten conference?

"I spoke to the Illinois coaches Sunday evening about my change of mind. They told me they wish me well. I'm sure they were upset, but I had to make the best decision for myself."

Champ, on the other hand, had offers from Missouri, Arkansas, West Virginia, Tulsa, and New Mexico, but had always stated he was waiting on Georgia Tech, Florida, and Kansas State. Was Iowa the best team for him period or just the best out of the offers he had received?

"I was not looking for a certain offer, but those were schools I had interest in. I did not know how to judge Iowa until I saw it first hand. It just helped reassure my alliegance to the Hawkeyes, and when I returned home I knew immediately that is where I wanted to play. The visit set my decision."

So just exactly how did Champ end up making his decision on a Saturday afternoon?

"It was just a day of laying around, and Coach Aiken was suppose to call me back since he was too busy to talk on Friday. Like I said, I wanted to commit right after my visit, but my parents told me to wait a week to see what develops. All my questions were answered on my visit, but Coach Aiken heard my desire to play for the Hawks and my knowledge that it was the best program for me. He told me everyone was very excited about my decision, plus Coach Ferentz called me Sunday evening after their invitation to the Orange Bowl was announced."

Speaking of former teammates, A.J. Johnson is the latest player from Bolingbrook, IL to become a Hawkeye. Many Hawk fans should remember former Hawk and current Detroit Lion DE Anthony Herron. AJ certainly had no problem remembering.

"I know Anthony from back in high school and his days at Iowa. When I visited my sophomore year, I got the chance to speak to him in Iowa City. He told me how good the team was at that time, and I'm glad I listened after seeing the results this season."

What lies ahead for both prospects?

"I have an all-star game performance coming up on January 25th," Champ added. "I will be playing in the Coke-Cola North Texas All-Star game. I'm going to work on getting back in shape for that game as this fall I wasn't myself due to a turf toe injury. I'll also participate in track this spring, running the 300m hurdles and the 4x100."

AJ Johnson also had football in mind.

"They told me I'd be starting out at tailback so I just want to improve in that area. I will arrive in Iowa City early this summer. I want to learn the offense and lift weights in preparation for fall practice."

The fun has only begun for the Hawkeyes and fans. The Hawks will be looking to add more offensive weapons this week with a few decisions looming, and will keep Hawk fans up-to-date with all the new developments.

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