Harvard called. And, yes, the prestigious Ivy League institution made sense for Mike Orloff.
He carried a 3.4 GPA and scored a 1490 on his SAT. Cambridge is just 25 minutes from his home in Danvers, Mass. Harvard was interested in Orloff as a quarterback, where he threw for 12 TDs and just three interceptions last fall for Lawrence Academy.
“It’s definitely tough to turn down that, academically and what it would mean for the rest of your life,” Orloff said Monday. “But I feel I can be successful no matter where I go.
“I’m really committed to being the best football player I can. I felt like Iowa was the place I could do that.”
Orloff, a 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, committed to the Hawkeyes on Saturday. It wasn’t one of those “we’ll try you at quarterback and let’s see what happens” kind of offers, either. Iowa coaches were clear they see Orloff as a linebacker.
And so does Orloff.
“I think that’s where I’ll have the most success and I have confidence in the coaches’ decision,” Orloff said.
This is pure projection. Orloff hasn’t played linebacker at Lawrence. And that’s OK for all involved.
“It’s definitely different, but I’m excited for it,” Orloff said. “It’ll be something new for me. It’ll definitely take a little while to get the hang of it. I think I should be able to get a feel for it.”
Iowa has done this before. Chad Greenway was a quarterback for Mount Vernon (S.D.) High School. Jeff Tarpinian is a more recent example. He played quarterback at Omaha’s Millard North. He’ll be Iowa’s starting middle linebacker this fall.
Orloff sees his experience as a QB as a plus.
“I think it’s an enormous advantage,” he said. “I know what I’m thinking at the quarterback position, so I feel I have some insight into what an offense wants to do. It just helps my football IQ and makes me a better player.”
Iowa has 11 commitments, a good run for the camp and unofficial visit season.
June 1 through July 31 is what the NCAA terms a “quiet period” for college football recruiting. Recruits can visit with coaches, but only on those coaches’ campuses.
It’s not a total free-for-all. Athletes must pay all travel expenses associated with the visit, which is unlike an “official visit,” one that comes with strict NCAA guidelines.
But unofficial visits allow prospects to see what they want to see and on their schedule with their agenda.
Athletes can stay on campus with a member of the team or another student. An athlete can take as many unofficial visits as they want to any number of colleges at any time. Athletes can meet with the college coach while on campus. Coaches can help a prospect coordinate NCAA unofficial visits. All visits before a recruit’s senior year must be unofficial.
Texas wide receivers JaCorey Shepherd and Austin Vincent committed after visits to Iowa City this summer. Pennsylvania defensive end John Raymon visited with his dad after touring Iowa and Purdue. Florida quarterback Jake Rudock also visited.
Orloff made his trip with Lawrence Academy teammate Marcus Grant in April. Grant committed to the Hawkeyes, while Orloff, who also had an offer from Louisville, waited.
He plans to visit Iowa City again in August, this time with his parents.
Orloff didn’t know much about Iowa. He concentrated on getting to know coaches and campus.
“What I tried to do with my unofficial visit was try to get to know the coaches as well as I could,” Orloff said. “I really like the coaches from Iowa. They’ve been straight up with me throughout the whole thing, which is big for me.
“I got to see the school and the campus. It’s beautiful. Iowa was a tough place to turn down.”
Orloff is thinking engineering as a major, but isn’t in a hurry in that regard.
I’m still thinking maybe 24 scholarships from Iowa in February.
I’m thinking heavy defense and O-line with a running back thrown in there, too.
Mike Orloff, 6-2, 215, LB, Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.)
Riley McMinn, 6-7, 220, DE, Rochester (Ill.) High School
Jake Duzey, 6-4, 225, TE, Athens High School (Troy, Michigan)
Jake Rudock, 6-3, 185, QB, St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
John Raymon, 6-5, 240, DE, Council Rock North High School (New Town, Penn.)
Ray Hamilton, 6-5, 225, TE, Strongsville (Ohio) High School
Austin Vincent, 6-2, 170, WR, DeSoto (Texas) High School
Henry Krieger-Coble, 6-4, 220, TE, Mount Pleasant High School
Austin Blythe, 6-3, 280, OL, Williamsburg High School
Marcus Grant, 6-2, 190, WR Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.)
JaCorey Shepherd, 5-11, 170, WR, Horn High School (Mesquite, Texas)