‘NEEDS': Heading into this class, the Hawkeye knew they need to shore up strength at wide receiver and offensive line. This class was destined to be an offensive-heavy group, and that's just what it turned out to be.
The Hawkeyes see Rob Bruggeman and Seth Olsen departing along the offensive line, along with tight ends Brandon Myers and Michael Sabers. Andy Brodell is the lone loss at wide receiver, but without many proven scholarship players at this position, the Hawkeyes needed some help here, too.
One can never have enough running backs, as Nebraska showed during its hey day; they would routinely stockpile great running backs, because those players tended to be among the best athletes on a football field.
If you can get a solid quarterback, you never turn your back on that position, either.
‘GETS': Nolan MacMillan, Conor Boffeli, Matt Murphy, Bret Van Sloten and Drew Clark are the names Iowa landed on the offensive line. In MacMillan, they secured a likely future tackle for when Kyle Calloway uses his eligibility after the 2009 season. Bryan Bulaga has two more years of eligibility, and the hope is that he will be at Iowa for two years; there remains a chance that he could tempt the 2010 NFL draft if he has a monster 2009, but odds are that he will stick around Iowa City the way that Robert Gallery did, which helped Gallery land the Outland Trophy and the #2 overall draft pick in the 2004 NFL draft.
Boffeli, Van Sloten, Murphy and Clark, all players from the state of Iowa, will be allowed to come along a littler slower, though the odds are solid that at least one, if not two of them will flash enough in his redshirt freshman season (2010) to break into the two deep.
There is still a chance that Chris Watt, a Notre Dame commitment and recent visitor to Iowa City, could have a change of heart on signing day. There are still rumblings of something like that happening, although it's probably safe to advise you to not hold your breath. Who does that, anyway? Just don't totally shut the door on that possibility is what I am saying, and I am not just pulling that out of the dark.
At tight end, the Hawkeyes landed Anthony Schiavone and Dakota Getz. Shiavone is a 6-6, 225 pound prospect out of New London, Connecticut while Getz comes to Iowa from small school Meridian of Macon, IL. Getz is 6-4, 220-ish at the present time, and both come with some impressive speed (4.75 range) at the position. Iowa will not need a young pup at this position for another year, as Tony Moeaki and Allen Reisner should be able to handle the duties next year, with Brad Herman in the mix as well.
The Hawkeyes landed three ‘running backs' if you will. Shane Dibona and Brad Rogers will likely begin their Iowa careers at tailback, while record setting Brandon Wegher will start at….well…..who knows?
That's not a knock on Wegher; the kid might be able to play any one of four positions; safety, corner, running back and slot receiver. Just where he ends up is a question a lot of Hawkeye fans are interested in right now. It might be too tempting to move him to defense, and take the ball out of his hands. You might as well add kick returner to his resume as well, as he did a great job of that at Sioux City Heelan. You would guess that the coaching staff would like to move Jewell Hampton out of his kickoff return role and Andy Brodell will not be returning punts next year. Colin Sandeman probably has the edge there, but if Wegher can come into camp and show that he can hang on to the ball, his electric play will be tempting. If he stays on offense, it's unlikely he will redshirt. If he moves to defense, then a redshirt is probably the way to go.
The Hawkeyes felt a big need at receiver and they landed an impressive and intriguing crop; Keenan Davis is an All American out of Cedar Rapids, while Jordan Cotton is a very versatile athlete from Mt. Pleasant. Both of them have nice size; Davis is 6-3, 195 while Cotton is 6-1, 180. However, one of the most intriguing players in this class is Stephane Ngoumou of Maryland. He is 6-4, 210 pounds and had more than 1,000 yards receiving as a senior, but he was waaaaay off the radar. Brodell was listed at 6-3, while DJK and Sandeman are listed at 6-1. There is playing time to be had at this position, but it's unlikely that all three will play as true freshmen. Cotton carried the ball quite a bit for his high school team, not unlike Brodell when he was a star running back for Ankeny. If Davis doesn't play next year, that will be a bit of a surprise.
The Hawks added two defensive linemen; Scott Covert and Tyler Harrell. Again, this is a relatively deep position for Iowa, and Cody Hundertmark redshirted this past year after playing as a true freshman. If a rookie comes in and plays in 2009, it's for one of two reasons; he is either lights out great, or the Hawks have some injury problems.
Marty Hopkins is the lone linebacker in this class and may have a future with his hand on the ground. As of this writing, Ka'lial Glaud had still not announced his college choice. He is family with former Iowa linebacker Leroy Smith and is very familiar with the Hawkeye football program.
Josh Brown and Micah Hyde are the defensive backs Iowa has signed in this class, which is an indication of youth and depth already on campus; the projected starters in the defensive backfield for 2009 will all return in 2010. Brown told me in November that the Iowa staff told him he will get a look at quarterback, until he proves he is either worthy of that position, or is best suited for the defensive side of the ball.
Iowa has 18 known verbal commitments at this time, and the final number will be 18, 19 or 20. Glaud and Watt loom as possible signing day surprises.
WEDNESDAY: Our own set of rankings, some predictions, walk on rundown and more on Iowa's 2009 Recruiting Class.