HTO.com Beat: A Week of Close Calls

The Iowa Hawkeyes have had an unpredecent week of close calls in the past, but maybe none bigger than this past week. I take a look back to review Iowa's theme week of finishing second, and what is up next for the Hawks on the recruiting front.

A close call for Brad Banks last evening. Heading into the event, confidence continued to grow in his chances to win the Heisman. I had even gone so far Saturday afternoon in informing many friends I believed it was his award. In fact, the only contender I felt Banks had to worry about would be RB Larry Johnson. Am I the only one that was a bit surprised with the naming of Carson Palmer as the winner? I do not feel Banks or anyone else was robbed of the award, as Carson earned his honors. But you have to believe it was the length of schedule that helped his chances. Coming out of Minnesota, Banks likely would have been the favorite, but having a few weeks off while other contenders still played certainly played a factor in finishing second. Palmer's late-season surge was just enough to push him to the top. Iowa is the first school to have four candidates finish second in voting.

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Will it be another ten to twenty years before the Hawks have another Heisman contender? Next season, alone, the Hawks will enter the pre-season with a few contenders in mind. Dallas Clark, along with Kellen Winslow, Jr., will likely be the first tight end in a while to enter the season with serious momentum. Fred Russell will receive some talk, but his chances will likely be hurt due to a two running back system with Jermelle Lewis. What about Robert Gallery being the next LT after Orlando Pace to receive talk? It'll certainly be interesting to see how the Hawks rebound off this season, and if any players will step to the forefront, much like Banks, in keeping the Hawks at this level.

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Sitting courtside at the Iowa/ISU basketball game Friday night was a very enjoyable experience. Not only was it my first time seeing Coach Eustachy's rants and raves first-hand, but Carver was packed with enthusiasm and pride. The football team continued to receive some much deserved love, and that had to rub off on the recruits. It also should be no surprise with the offensive line being perhaps the biggest priority this recruiting season that Coach Ferentz spent his only night in town sitting right aside OL Mike Jones.

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I felt very good about the Hawkeye basketball team even after the loss on Friday evening. It was hard effort and pride that helped show these Hawkeyes will be battling every game this season. I believe the in-state match-up, much like football season, will be a big stepping point for the Hawkeyes in learning how to keep a lead. Also, it should help them along the season in battling in close games. With Jeff Horner and Greg Brunner continually growing as talents, I do believe Iowa is going to make a run for at least fifteen victories this season.

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I am ready to make my fourth recruiting prediction here on HTO.com Beat. My first prediction, I went out to say the Hawks would land one out of the group of Darrell Blackman, Travis Thomas, or Terry Washington before Christmas. While the Hawks sit comfortably with Washington, his decision could be pushed back into January. In my second prediction, I predicted the Hawks would land one prospect from the Camden trio, and that is still very much alive with Preston Brown. I was right on the nail in predicting the Hawks would land DT George Eshareturi.

This time, I'm not reaching that far out as well with a rather easier prediction. I do believe that the Hawks will have over fifteen commitments by Christmas time, likely in the neighborhood of 16 to 18. In fact, I'm hearing the Hawks could well be on their way to hearing of two more commitments by press time on Tuesday.

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Two prospects to keep an eye out for while reading this story are CB Marcus Clayton and DE Bryan Mattison. Both are nearing their decision times, and the Hawks are in the top two for both prospects.

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The final close call being examined by myself is the decision of TE Jonathan Stupar. The Hawks finished a close second for this heralded TE, but do not expect this to hamper their efforts. Marcel Frost is still a strong candidate, and is just as good, if not better as a playmaker than Stupar. He only lacks the physical presence and blocking ability that Stupar had, which will be assisted under Coach Doyle. The Hawks also have other tight end options with possibilities of Scott Chandler, Preston Brown, and Cameron Bobb.


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