It’s time to take a break from basketball and wrestling and talk about Iowa’s new football recruits.
I got a chance to sit down with Reese Morgan last Wednesday to talk about the new kids on the block.
Reese, who coached the offensive line for eight years, is now the defensive line coach.
First I had to ask him about Marshal Yanda, former Hawkeye offensive lineman, who helped the Baltimore Ravens win the Super Bowl.
Reese not only helped recruit him but coached him, too.
“We already had four offensive lineman committed but we saw some tape Marshal sent us and really liked what we saw and the rest is history,” said coach Morgan.
On the recruiting side, the Hawks went after speed and wide receivers.
Iowa signed five wide receivers and nine players who run the 40 in the 4.4 to 4.49 range.
It all starts up front and the Hawkeyes picked up two good offensive lineman, Colin Goebel (6-5, 280) and Sean Walsh (6-3, 285).
“Both of these guys stood out on tape and they are both tough guys,” said Reese. “They are what coach Ferentz and Brian (the offensive line coach) are looking for.”
Iowa has done almost as good a job of developing tight ends as it has offensive linemen.
The Hawkeyes got two from Iowa and they look like good athletes.
Ike Boettger (6-6, 235) is from Cedar Falls and was named first team all-state. Ike is a versatile athlete who played tight end, quarterback, wide receiver and defensive back.
Ike came to football camp at Iowa as a quarterback, the coaches asked him to try tight end and now he’s got a scholarship.
Remember Dallas Clark and Marv Cook played QB in high school.
Jon Wisnieski (6-5, 220) was also all-state and played at Dowling High School in Des Moines.
The five wide receivers are headlined by Damond Powell, a junior college transfer. At junior college, he led the nation in yards per reception (30.0).
Andre Harris (6-0, 170), A.J. Jones (6-3, 190), Derrick Mitchell (6-1, 190) and Derrick Willis (6-4, 205) are the other four.
They add size and speed plus all of them run sub-4.45 40s.
“That’s been a priority to get those game breakers,” said coach Morgan. “The kind of guys that can make you miss.”
The Hawks picked up one quarterback and he looks like a good one.
Nic Shimonek (6-4,196) is from Texas and he passed for 2,714 yards and 33 touchdowns as a senior. He also rushed for 850 yards and ran for 17 touchdowns… dual threat? That would be nice.
“Greg Davis (Iowa offensive coordinator) went after him and has known him for several years,” said Reese. “A great kid and a great family.”
Iowa signed three running backs and one of them fits the Shonn Greene mold.
LaShun Daniels (6-0, 220) was committed to Boston College before it changed coaches. LaShun was first team all-state in Ohio and was a four year letterman in track.
Jonathan Parker (5-8, 175) and Akrum Wadley (5-11, 170) are in the Fred Russell type, as both run 4.4 in the 40 yard dash.
“Those last two guys can do a lot of things,” said the coach. “They are both playmakers.”
On defense, the Hawks picked up two defensive tackles; Nathan Bazata (6-2, 280) and Brant Gressel (6-2, 280).
Nate was named Division I Player of the Year in Nebraska in football, four year letter winner in wrestling and won three letters in track. He was undefeated at heavyweight.
Brant was all-conference as a junior and senior growing up in Centerville, Ohio.
“Those two guys are just tough guys,” said coach Morgan. “Both are a little raw and both come from excellent programs.”
All three starting linebackers for Iowa; James Morris, Anthony Hitchens and Christian Kirksey will be seniors next fall so it was important to bring in some linebackers and Iowa signed three.
John Kenny (6-2, 215), Reggie Spearman (6-3, 225) and Josey Jewell (6-2, 200) have speed and are athletic.
John, who is already in school, was named to the Indianapolis Star Super Team as a senior.
“He’s really made a great transition,” said Reese of John. “He’s really a polished guy and has done some good things. He was one of the best players coming out of Indiana.”
John could have a shot to play on special teams next fall.
Reggie was one of the last to commit to the Hawkeyes and made first team all-state from Chicago.
“He’s a great looking kid and we need linebackers so bad,” said coach Morgan. “He’s a great fit and he‘s only 16 years old.”
Josey is a four sport athlete and first team all-state in football from Decorah, Iowa.
“Once he concentrates on one sport he’s going to have a chance to grow and develop,” said Reese about Josey.
The Hawks have three defensive backs coming in and all have good speed.
Desmond King (5-11, 185) is an all state player from Detroit, Mich., his junior and senior seasons. His 29 career interceptions are the most ever in the state of Michigan.
Desmond also holds his school record for career rushing yards. He ran for 2,360 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a senior.
Malik Rucker (6-0,170) played football, basketball and track in Minneapolis, Minn., and was a three-year letterman as a receiver and defensive back.
Solomon Warfield (6-0, 185) is from Lorain, Ohio, where he was first team all-Ohio as a senior. He lettered four years in football and also ran track.
Look for one or two wide receivers and maybe a defensive back to see action next fall.
There are some things I really like about this class.
First of all, 18 of the 21 players signed were captains on their high school team which usually means good leadership.
The next thing is almost all of them played other sports so when they get to concentrate on just football they will get better.
Finally I can’t wait to see how Chris Doyle, Iowa’s strength coach, will help them develop in the weight room.