Iowa Recruiting Rundown: The Defense

Earlier this week, we shared several names with you as it relates to Iowa's recruiting targets on the offensive side of the ball. Now, it's time to do the same with defensive prospects. Here are some of the names to keep an eye on as we countdown towards signing day 2009.

Iowa has ten known verbal commitments in the Class of 2009. Early comments from the Iowa coaching staff made it sound like this year's class could be between 12 and 15 players in size. A recent comment from Kirk Ferentz made it sound like this class could be in the mid to high teen's in numbers.

So this class is either mostly completed, or half way home; either way, you are looking at one of the earlier ‘filling out of the dance cards' we have seen in an Iowa recruiting class in some time.

My thoughts on early commitments are that these are kids that Iowa targeted from an early perspective, thus they really saw something in them from their junior tape that made them feel good enough to offer them one of their precious and finite scholarships. To me, an early commit is someone that verbals for you before the calendar turns to November.

In the case of late September and October commits, the Iowa coaching staff has had time to see some limited tape from a senior season, and make an offer (if one hadn't been there already). I always feel good about that, too.

None of this is to say that I don't feel good about prospects that commit later in a class; recruiting is a long and winding road.

Here are a few names to shed some light on how the rest of Iowa's recruiting road may play out this year. These are names that I believe to be on Iowa's radar through conversations with multiple sources, not just names in a recruiting database, as that is not always reflective of a school's interest.

IN THE FOLD: Scott Covert (could be OL), Tyler Harrell
ON THE RADAR: Offers: Jamil Merrell (6-4, 210, Newark, DE), Alex Williams (6-5, 210, Florida A&M HS), Keensen Chambers

Merrell has offers from UNC, NC State, Pitt, Rutgers, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and West Virginia, among others. He also has a twin brother. He is a four-star prospect as rated by Alex Williams has offers from Arkansas, East Carolina, Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Keensen Chambers may be a new name to Hawkeye fans; he is 6-6, closer to 240-pounds right now. I believe he was at one time part of South Carolina's recruiting class last year, but did not enroll. Amazing point to share here: as Brian and I were trying to track down information on this player, we were able to get in touch with him. And it turns out he is visiting Iowa City this weekend. Brian Finley spoke with him and you can read this amazing story HERE.

With the commitment of Harrell, and as is always the case in recruiting, some of these names could be fluid.

Here are some other names that Iowa is in contact with but do not yet have an offer: Martin Hopkins of Illinois, Chase Douglas of South Dakota, Dominic Alvis of Logan-Magnolia High School, Forest Stuckey of Kansas and Aaron Hush of New Jersey.

ON THE RADAR: Cornerbacks: Darious Thomas of Cedar Hill, Texas may have an offer from Iowa. He is 6-0, 175 pounds, but to say that he is ‘on the radar' would be in the classic Iowa recruiting sense. This player certain fits the bill with regards to diamonds in the rough that Iowa hones in on and develops into quality players, while the several other school wonder in hindsight what they missed.

Also in the mix but without an Iowa offer are Eric Loper of New Jersey, Torian Philips of New York and Kareem Pratt of New Jersey.

Safeties: Jarius Jones of Wharton High School in Tampa Florida has an Iowa offer. Iowa has not been mentioned prominently during his recruiting process, but if the Hawks were able to make a trip to the Outback Bowl this year, we have seen instances where something like that has benefited Iowa on the recruiting trail (see Vernon Jackson and the 2004 Cap One Bowl).

Other names to keep in mind, but that have yet to receive an Iowa offer: Micah Hyde of Ohio, Ezra Thompson of Illinois and Indiana commit Kenny Watkins of Michigan.

IN THE FOLD: Jake Reisen (Gray Shirt, Iowa City Regina)
ON THE RADAR: Ka'Lial Glaud of New Jersey, Gerald Hodges of New Jersey.

Both Glaud and Hodges are highly rated players. Hodges said in a story dated November 12th that it's down to Rutgers and Penn State; he has been a verbal to Rutgers. But he also said that he wants to take an official visit to Iowa.

Glaud has offers from Maryland, Boston College, Iowa, Rutgers, Tennessee, West Virginia and others.

One thing that has been common in these two offensive and defensive write ups, is that Rutgers disappointing season has had the potential to dismantle a very, very impressive recruiting class for the Scarlet Knights. Iowa is running into Rutgers on the recruiting trail quite a bit.

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