Many Hawk fans were thrilled to hear the news this weekend of visitor Richard Kittrell. The 6'5 285 phenom was the largest visitor on campus, and potentially the most talented. That speaks high volumes while being in attendance with high school superstars, such as Tommy Zbikowski and Mike Jones.
In fact, on Sunday many jumped at the reports of Tom Lemming stating Kittrell had nearly committed. HTO.com asked Richard, "Did you nearly find yourself making a commitment?"
"No, I would not say that is true," Richard countered back. "It was a nice visit, and it was a good time hanging around all the players, but I still have two visits remaining."
"I'm making an official visit to Maryland on January 3rd, and UConn on the January 10th. I have Syracuse's head coach slated to stop by my house tonight, and Maryland's defensive coach stopped by last evening. Coach Ferentz was going to come tomorrow night, but has delayed that to January since I will not be making my decision until Feburary. Therefore, Coach Aiken will be my house tomorrow evening."
At this point, with around 20 offers, does Richard have a list of favorite schools?
"My top three schools are Iowa, Maryland, and UConn. I'm just going to compare the visits with how I relate with the players and how well I believe each coaching staff will be able to develop my talents. I also want to know the staff wants me truly to make an impact, and is not recruiting me just to land a big-name recruit."
That is certainly a wise decision made by Richard in encountering the rest of his visits. With the chance to view a Hawkeye practice in preparation for the 2003 Orange Bowl, did he see a chance to make an impact?
"They have a good defensive line. I saw examples of that on television this fall. I like Coach (Ron) Aiken's coaching style and how he gets the most out of his players."
Watching the 2002 Hawkeyes gave many an opporunity to see a new philosophy of sorts by Coach (Norm) Parker and Aiken in their moving around of linemen. Throughout the season, many different combinations were thrown at opponents with sometimes three defensive ends to only one true defensive end lining up on the field.
Is this an approach that could stick with Richard?
"They told me they would be starting me out at defensive end. Although, they also said they would move inside and outside a lot to throw off the offense. I like how they had already planned on how to utilize myself."
Richard was hosted by one of the best Hawkeye DT's in recent memory, Colin Cole, on Friday evening and Connecticut native Jason Manson on Saturday evening.
The Hawks have found success in recruiting the state of Connecticut with the signatures of Bloomfield natives, Jermelle Lewis and Jason Manson. Will this help in regards to Richard?
"It was a total different perspective from hanging out with a senior and then a freshman. I got to see a lot different environment. The big thing was being able to talk to Jason about playing in Iowa. He basically told me that its not that bad at all mainly because it will be the same situation whichever school I choose."
Anyone in attendance for last Friday's in-state rivalry game between Iowa and Iowa State took notice of the exteremly great fan support shown to the Hawks. One proud moment came at halftime with a court full of post-season honorees and the presentation of "AP Coach of the Year" to Coach Ferentz. I know, from being in attendance, that there may have not been a single moment in Carver Hawkeye Arena in the past few years to produce such a large noise.
With Richard sitting courtside among other recruits, HTO.com asked just how special a moment it was for him to experience?
"The game was just alright considering they lost, but it was great to witness the half-time presentation. I had never experienced anything like that before."
At the end of the half-time experience Coach Ferentz made certain that Richard saw all the Hawkeye suppport.
"He looked over to me when he returned to his seat and asked me how I liked it," Richard added excitedly. "He then told me that could someday be me receiving that ceremony."
There is no doubt among talent evaluators about the ability of Kittrell. He has that special blend of size and mobility rarely found in defensive lineman. Now, the only question remaining, is where he will allow those talents to be developed?