Recruiting Roundup 2011 - OFFENSE

Hawkeye Insider publisher Rob Howe analyzes Iowa's recruiting to date and what's ahead for the Hawkeyes on the offensive side of the ball.

It's fair to say that Iowa's 2011 class looks very offensive to this point. And that's a good thing.

The Hawkeyes have received verbal commitments from eight players on offense among their 13 pledges. Of that group, they've landed three players expected to compete at tight end upon arrival.

Iowa expects to sign about 22 or so players in February. That means there's more work to do on offense.

In the first of a two-part analysis, Hawkeye Insider takes a look at what might be ahead in this position-by-position, breakdown of recruiting on the offensive side of the ball:

Quarterback - Iowa received a commitment from Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas signal caller Jacob Rudock on June 30. The Hawkeyes beat out Big Ten rival Wisconsin for the 6-foot-2, 185-pounder, who plays for one of the top high school programs in the country.

Fans looking to catch Rudock and Aquinas can at 4:30 p.m., Sept. 6, when they take on Dallas Skyline in a game to be broadcast by Fox Sports Southwest.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said at Big Ten media days in Chicago earlier this month that his team was finished recruiting quarterbacks in the 2011 Class.

Outlook: Well, if the good captain says the Hawks are done recruiting QBs in this class, why then we're done recruiting them in this class. I've heard the coaches love Rudock. Nothing else to see here, so let's move on.

Running Back - Iowa started off the recruiting season involved with some big recruits at this position. And while some of the them - Justice Hairston, Jameel Poteat and Remound Wright - chose to go elsewhere, I remained in good shape with some serious talent here.

Rodney Coe, Darrian Miller and Melvin Gordon list Iowa among their favorites. Getting a pledge from one of them would be nice. Getting two of them would be excellent.

Scout.com's last update on Coe quoted him as saying Iowa stood in his Top 4 with Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee. He said the Hawkeyes and Razorbacks best fit his style as a downhill runner.

Miller committed to Kansas but opened things back up and has said a lot of nice things about the Hawkeyes. He told Hawkeyeinsider.com's Josh Harvey here /a> and scout.com site here last month that Iowa stood out to him.

Gordon has long since been thought to be an Iowa lean, although he vacillated a bit since the spring. The Wisconsin product was hoping his prep teammate, Trae Waynes, would join him at the same college, preferably Iowa. Instead, the corner didn't receive a Hawkeye offer before committing to Michigan State, a player for Gordon as well.

At last check, Iowa is still the leader for Gordon, as you can see here.

It's hard to say when any one of the trio will pull the trigger on an announcement, as they've been quoted saying different things. Chances remain strong that it could take at least some official visits and an analysis by each player on how the teams at which they're looking perform this fall.

Outlook - The best case scenario here would be to get the big back (Coe) and one of the two smaller, quicker backs (Miller or Gordon). I'm not sure that's realistic, though.

I think Iowa lassos one of the three and I think that will be Gordon or Miller. I think Coe heads to the SEC (just a hunch). My money is on Gordon.

Wide Receiver - The Hawkeyes locked up two players at this position of need to date. Lawrence Academy's (Gorton, MA) Marcus Grant and Desoto (TX) High product Austin Vincent verballed.

Iowa's first commit in this group, Jacorey Shepherd, back out and picked Kansas. The Hawkeyes remained in contention for other top prospects here.

The brother of Scout.com's No. 5 wideout, DeAnthony Arnett, told Harvey here that his younger sibling would visit Iowa before making a decision. The Saginaw, MI star earlier had listed Iowa among his Top 6 schools.

No. 21 on Scout.com's list, Damiere Byrd from New Jersey, lists the Hawkeyes in his Top 7 as you can see here. Guyer (Denton, TX) High receiver Quentin Gardener, No. 107, has an Iowa offer. At last check, he appears to be waiting on a Texas A&M offer but his prep coach told me

Here's a here that he'd fit in well in the Hawkeyes' system.

Another guy who has flown under the radar a bit, Kendrick Roberts from Flint, is being strongly considered by the Hawkeye coaches as you can see here. He and receivers like Chance Early and Quenton James (grades) might need to show more on senior film.

Outlook - I don't think the coaches turn away Arnett or Byrd. That said, I don't think they'll have to do so. I think we'll miss on those two top targets.

It just seems like when it comes down to it, other schools are able to beat us on these top WR targets because we have the rep as a run-first attack. It might take us getting exposure from Derrell Johnson-Koulianos and Marvin McNutt doing big things this season and making the league to help us with the higher-rated prospects.

Gardener probably stays home, but I'd love to get him on a visit. I think he works well in our system.

My best guess is that we hold with the two commits we have unless somebody like Roberts, Early or James advances significantly as a senior.

Tight End - While it seems that wide receiver prospects often get talked out of Iowa's offensive scheme, tight ends love it. After landing the nation's No. 2 ranked player at the position in the ‘10 class, C.J. Fiedorowicz, the Hawkeyes will be bringing in three very talented players next fall. And it's a deep year at the position nationally.

Ohio's Ray Hamilton highlights the group. The scout.com four-star is No. 15 in the country at the position. Michigan's Jake Duzey comes in at No. 38 and in-state product Henry Krieger-Coble (Mount Pleasant) is one spot behind him at thirty nine.

The Hawkeyes utilize two and sometimes three tight ends in their offensive attack. And while you never rule out a position change, this trio in ‘11 is a very talented, skilled bunch.

Outlook: I think it's fair to say that the Hawkeyes are done with tight ends in 2011 and it likely won't be a big position of need in the next class. I think at least one of the three coming in next fall will play as a true freshman.

Offensive Line - The Hawkeyes brought in two tackles in its last class - Andrew Donnal and Brandon Scherff - and feel good about the progress of Nolan McMillan and Brett Van Sloten in the previous signing group. They needed to hit the interior hard this recruiting season. They've done it.

Guard Jordan Walsh plays headliner here. The Illinois product is ranked as the No.2 player at his position nationally and his offer list is most impressive.

The Hawkeyes didn't have to travel far to get Williamsburg's Austin Blythe, who also projects on the interior. He is ranked the No. 22 guard by Scout.com.

Iowa did miss on one of its top targets when Jack Allen from Hinsdale (Ill.) Central chose Michigan State on Thursday. He'd taken two trips to Iowa, including one on Sunday with his parents and a camp stop this summer.

The real coup here would be Cyrus Kouandjio, the top-ranked tackle in the country. He told Harvey in a recent update that the Hawkeyes still are in the picture.

Scout.com regional analyst Allen Trieu reported this week that No. 38 OT Nick Martin from Indianapolis Bishop Chatard narrowed his list to Iowa and Kentucky and was looking to make a decision soon. His father played for the Wildcats and his brother, Zach, chose Notre Dame a few years back. I wrote a story on Nick after he visited Iowa earlier in the summer.

The Hawkeyes also have an offer out to No. 97 OT Patrick Flavin. The Benet Academy (Lisle. Ill.) star says he likes the Hawkeyes but looks like he might take some time to make his decision.

Outlook: The Hawkeyes would like to get a tackle in this class, but as I mentioned earlier, they feel pretty good about their young guys on the outside. Nick Martin would really make this line class more special than it already looks to be. And Kouandjio would put it off the charts.

Kouandjio is a long shot at best. His brother committed to Alabama last winter and the Tide look to be the favorite for his services. Still, the younger sibling could choose to pave his own way and he prepped with Hawkeye RB Marcus Coker at DeMatha.

Iowa could also add a center type after losing Allen, but I don't think it's a need with James Ferentz and Conor Boffeli in the fold.

In Closing: I don't think we're going to do a lot more on offense in this class. Two RBs, another WR and a tackle would probably wrap it up. Of course, there always seems to be a nice group of players who fly under the radar and catch the coaches' attention with their senior performances - Brandon Myers, Mike Elgin, Allen Reisner, etc.

I like how the 2011 Class is coming along on this side of the ball. I'm looking to see which running back we land. That's the exclamation point in my mind.


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