Baltimore's Gilman School treated Iowa well in recruiting last year, sending two talented defenders to Iowa City in the Class of 2010. The Hawkeyes have worked hard to land another big fish from that program.
Scout.com lists Darius Jennings, who is being recruited as an athlete by Iowa, as the No. 4 quarterback recruit in the '11 class. The service tabs him as the No. 68 overall prospect in the class regardless of position. He holds 13 scholarship offers, including Iowa, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh and Boston College.
"I like Iowa," Jennings said. "Our coach has close ties to the program. I went to a camp there last summer and had a great time. Their coaches are really down to earth."
Gilman Head Coach Biff Poggi sent his son, Jim Poggi, and Anthony Ferguson off to Iowa in the '10 class. Iowa Head Coach Kirk Ferentz enrolled his son, Brian Ferentz, in Gilman when he was the Baltimore Ravens' offensive line coach.
Hawkeye Assistant Darrell Wilson recruits Baltimore.
"Coach Wilson is a real cool guy," Jennings said. "Every time he comes to Baltimore, he stops by to say hi. He keeps it real. He's a cool guy overall."
Iowa has told Jennings that it's not sure if it will use him on offense or defense.
"They like my versatility," Jennings said. "They told me that they just want to get me on campus and figure it out after then."
Jennings runs the Wildcat Offense at Gilman, meaning the ball gets directly snapped to him and he uses his impressive speed to make plays. His fastest time in the 40-yard dash is 4.38 seconds.
Jennings rushed for 2,028 yards and passed for 735 more as a junior. He ran for 25 touchdowns and threw for 10 more.
"I think I can play (cornerback) in college, but I like to have the ball in my hands, too," Jennings said.
Jennings played defensive back when Gilman went to nickel and dime packages last season.
"They'd usually bring me in to cover the other team's best receiver on the obvious passing downs," he said.
Jennings thinks he'll be used as a hybrid RB-WR if he plays offense in college. He says he currently stands 5-foot-11 and weighs 175 pounds.
"I'd probably be a Percy Harvin type; something along those lines," Jennings said. "I guess if I got big enough, I could play running back, but I'm kind of an all-purpose guy."
Jennings, who also plays basketball and runs track, said he probably won't trim down his list of schools that interest him until the summer.
"I don't have a favorite right now," he said. "I'm just trying to keep my options open. When free time pops up in my schedule, I'm trying to get out to some junior days."