Ferentz on Duzey

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March 31, 2014 | 11:22 am

Jake Duzey has played wide receiver for Troy (Mich.) Athens High School since he stepped onto the football field.

And why not? He’s 6-foot-4, 225 pounds. At the MichiganPreps.com combine in March, Duzey ran a 4.49-second 40, a 4.28-second 10-yard shuttle and marked a vertical leap at 33 inches.

In college, Duzey is looking at tight end. That’s why last week he looked at Iowa and committed.

Iowa has an excellent track record with tight ends under coach Kirk Ferentz, with eight making it into the NFL either through draft or free agency.

Iowa uses a lot of double-tight end formations and it looks as though it plans to use more in the future. Duzey was the third tight end to commit to the Hawkeyes for the 2011 recruiting class, joining Ohio’s Ray Hamilton and Mount Pleasant’s Henry Kreiger-Coble.

“I’m going to play tight end [at Iowa], but I’m not just going to block, I’m going to move around,” Duzey said. “I’m going to start working on blocking, but I’m still going to play some wide receiver and H-back this year.”

Duzey picked Iowa over Oregon. He had 10 other offers, including Purdue, Michigan State and Cincinnati. He’s also serious about playing with his hand on the ground. This fall, he’ll move from safety/linebacker to defensive end.

Links -- C&G Newspapers called Duzey a "game changer." “He’s kind of that prototypical defensive end you see down in the SEC or the Big Ten,” Athens coach Josh Heppner said. “He’s just a big, fast, impressive kid to watch. What’s funny is that he doesn’t really look like he’s that fast, but once he takes off, he’s gone. Once he accelerates, gets moving upfield, he’s pretty tough to stop.”

Three most interesting bio items -- 1) Nominated for Mr. Football and Detroit Athletic Club Michigan High School Athlete of the year. 2) Started at both wide receiver and defensive end as a senior. 3) Started at both wide receiver and defensive end as a senior (bears repeating). Bonus -- Honor roll and scholar athlete for four years.

Ferentz on -- Iowa wanted to bring in two tight ends, but Duzey got the coaching staff's attention with a powerhouse performance at Iowa's summer camp.

Iowa already had two tight ends. Tight ends coach Eric Johnson told them Iowa would only bring in two. Duzey was too interesting to pass up, so he asked the other two commits what they thought.

"Once Ray [Hamilton] committed, we already had Jake Duzey in camp. Again, a guy we felt strongly about out of camp," Johnson said. "We knew Jake was close to committing, so we actually asked the other two tight ends. This is a guy we feel very strongly about. I know we said we were only going to take two of you guys, but this is a guy we feel very strongly about as a football player."

Projection is fun -- Three tight ends. We'll see where this goes, but Duzey has the size and speed to make it work.

In fall 2011, Iowa could have as many as 10 tight ends on scholarship. That’s OK with Duzey.

“I talked to coaches about the two tight ends coming in with my class,” Duzey said. “I guess there are different plans for each of us.”

Hmmm.

Look at it this way, Iowa has three football players it really, really likes and probably will find them something to do.

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