Although Iowa only has secured five verbal commitments on the defensive side of the ball for 2011, it's a quality group. It's also addressed needs. The Hawkeyes have received pledges from two defensive ends, two linebackers and a cornerback.
In the second of a two-part series, Hawkeye Insider Publisher Rob Howe takes a look at the Class of 2011 - what's in and what might still be to come. This section is dedicated to defense. If you missed Part 1 on the offense, it's here.
Defensive Line - If there's been a name that flew under the radar in this ‘11 class, it was that of Newton, Pa. DE John Raymon. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder from Council Rock North High has interesting story and a really high ceiling.
Riley McMinn came on board with the Hawkeyes a few weeks after Raymon joined up. The DE from Illinois stood 6-foot-7 and weighed 220 pounds earlier this summer and has the frame to put on the necessary size for the position.
Iowa will suffer big hits in the defensive front in the next two years. The Hawkeyes will say good-bye to Adrian Clayborn, Karl Klug and Christian Ballard after the ‘10 campaign and this season's fourth starter, Broderick Binns, is a junior as are key reserves Mike Daniels and Lebron Daniel.
In their last class, the Hawkeyes landed three defensive linemen - Carl Davis, Anthony Ferguson and Donovan Johnson. Though Johnson said the coaches told him he'd get a shot at end, that trio could end up on the inside.
It would be a big time get for Iowa if it could pull Jefferson out of the Steel City. It likely would take an official visit to bring it home for the Hawkeyes.
On the inside, Iowa still sits in the mix with DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.) product Darian Cooper, who said in this recent piece that the Hawkeyes are in his Top 8 and could get an official visit.
OUTLOOK: With the verbals from Raymon and McMinn and the three guys in the last class, Iowa sits pretty well on the defensive front. The addition of Jefferson and/or Cooper would be the icing on the cake. I don't see the Hawkeye coaches reaching here of those two fall through.
Linebacker - Iowa has secured commitments from two projected outside guys for ‘11 in Omaha's Cole Fisher and Mike Orloff from Massachusetts. Both guys have mainly played safety to this point of their prep careers, so they bring with them athleticism.
Indiana's Armonze Daniel is the highest rated outside linebacker still on Iowa's board. Originally from the South, the defender likes Iowa after visiting in June. It might be tough to get him away from the SEC, though, as you can read here.
Price, the No. 11 MLB in this class according to Scout.com, would be a huge catch for the Hawkeyes, who don't often beat Ohio State heads up for recruits. Call it a litmus test for the program‘s progress. It would open some eyes in recruiting circles.
OUTLOOK: I think Price's offer is open-ended, whenever he decides. If he were to choose before Spears, the latter might be out of luck.
I'd like to say I feel good about Price, but I wouldn't bet against the Buckeyes on this one. But, boy, it would be sweet to beat them on one. He's a prep teammate of Jefferson's, so how do you feel about a package deal? Me, too.
I think were done on the outside. I think Daniel ends up at Auburn. He also needs some academic improvement.
Defensive Back - Iowa picked up a good one in Naples, Fl. cornerback Torrey Campbell. He's shown he's a very good football player and also has excelled on the track.
The Hawkeyes sit pretty well with others at the position. Tamani Carter is fresh off a visit to Iowa City last week as you can read here. The three-star prospect does not hold offers from home state Cincinnati or Ohio State.
Monroeville, Pa. athlete Dondi Kirby will miss his senior season with a torn ACL. Some schools are looking at his as a wide receiver, while others, like Iowa, see him as a corner. He lists Iowa among a group of schools leading for his services as you can read here, but his coach later said that Florida and Maryland lead as you can read here.
Iowa seemed to be in good shape early on for Michigan corner Valdez Showers, but as you can see here, the Hawkeyes are on the outside looking in. They also have an offer out to Florida cover man Dallas Crawford, but he doesn't mention them in recruiting updates.
OUTLOOK: It's always nice to get corners. You can never have enough of them.
I think the Hawkeyes have a good shot with Carter and I wouldn't surprise me if the door stays open with Kirby for awhile. Law also would be a nice catch. It probably goes without saying that official visits are important here.
Also keep in mind that safety is a position where Iowa has found success with walk-ons and lightly recruited players. I would expect to see some names surface as the season progresses.
Christian French - I'm giving the state's most highly recruited player his own spot. I was going to make a section for athletes, but I was able to find a spot for everybody but the Cedar Rapids Kennedy star.
I've not been able to reach French for the last month or so. With the amount of offers he's received, he's probably gotten tired of us recruiting types.
Anyway, Iowa began pursuing French as a tight end. The last I heard, they might be looking at him as a WR now. I also think he has the athleticism to be a heck of a defensive end if he shows the temperament.
Nobody from scout.com has been able to contact French since June. I did speak to him back in that month to find out his thoughts on the Hawkeyes, which you can read here.
OUTLOOK: It's tough to read French when we do get to talk to him. He's always very polite and says nice things about whichever school you bring up.
That said, he's visited Iowa quite a bit unofficially and I think he ends up a Hawkeye. We'll find him a position when he gets here.