On his recruiting visit to Iowa City in late June, Riley McMinn met Iowa defensive tackles Christian Ballard and Karl Klug.
Perhaps a glimpse into McMinn’s future?
Sunday evening, the 6-foot-7, 220-pounder from Rochester (Ill.) High School committed to the Hawkeyes. McMinn, who had 10 sacks, 65 tackles and four fumble recoveries for Class 4A Rochester last season, is Iowa’s 10th commitment for the 2011 recruiting class.
Yes, 6-7 and 220. And yes, he knows that this defensive end thing might not last.
“That’s what they’ve recruited me as, a defensive end,” McMinn said. “I don’t know, that may be subject to change, but that’s what they recruited me as.”
Would subject to change be offensive tackle?
“Yeah, right,” he said.
McMinn picked Iowa over Boston College. He had 11 offers, including Wisconsin. BC was the second school to offer. Iowa was the last.
Distance was more of a bonus than a factor for McMinn.
“Iowa had almost exactly what I want to do academically, with their business school and entrepreneurship and the journalism program. I’d like to do something in public broadcasting,” he said. “And then athletically, coach (Kirk) Ferentz is unbelievable. We spent a lot of time with him. He’s a fatherly figure. We all really enjoyed him, my parents and I did. The coaching staff has been there for a long time. They’re stable. I don’t think they’re going anywhere.
“The hard-nosed football they play, the midwest values that they instill on their players and football team . . . It’s nothing pretty, they just get down to work, get after it and I really like that. The emphasis they have on the D-line, that really drew me there.”
Links -- Whoa. McMinn was 6-3 in fifth grade. His parents probably had to bring the delivery-room doctor to sign off on youth sporting events. He was first thought to be a hoops prospect, according to this Rockford (Ill.) State-Journal Register story.
“Some people are more fit for the college game than the high school game. I think he might be one of those people because he is going to be a great pass rusher one day. He is now, but against (teams like) Metamora, you’ve got to stop the run. You can’t rush the passer,” [Rochester coach Derek] Leonard said. “We have to crank him down, and it’s not exactly his game.
“But he’s going to be a heck of a pass rusher. He is a heck of a pass rusher.”
Three most interesting bio items -- 1) Three-year starter, finishing with 196 tackles, 28.5 sacks, 33 tackles for loss and three blocked punts. 2) Led team to a three playoff appearances and a 33-4 record during three-year prep career. 3) Named to pre Honor Roll all four years, finishing with a 4.0 GPA. Bonus -- Journalism major. (Broadcast, if I remember correctly.)
Ferentz on -- McMinn wasn’t waiting for an Iowa offer, but when he sat down with his coach, Derek Leonard, they pegged Iowa as a school to watch.
“We were going over the recruiting stuff,” McMinn said. “He said if you did get offered, one of the prime places was Iowa.”
Rochester lost by a point to Metamora, current Iowa tight end Brad Herman’s hometown, in the Class 4A state semifinals last season.
At 6-7, McMinn would break Iowa’s mold at defensive end. Former Hawkeye Aaron Kampman is 6-4. Senior Adrian Clayborn, everyone’s preseason all-American, stands 6-3. Ballard, 6-5, came in as a D-end, but moved to tackle last season.
McMinn has one comparison, former Oakland Raiders great Ted Hendricks. He might’ve been the first 6-7 defensive end. His nickname was “The Stork.”
“Everybody tells me I remind them of “The Stork,” the dude who played for the Raiders,” McMinn said. “I don’t really have an idol.”
Projection is fun -- I run through Iowa's list of 6-7 D-ends during the Kirk Ferentz era and it begins and ends with Ed Saidat, who played during Ferentz's first season as Iowa's head coach in 1999.
Now, Iowa's list of 6-7 offensive tackles during the Ferentz era . . . You see where I'm going here.
But don't discount the idea of McMinn sticking at D-end. Saidat ended up in the 270-range. McMinn is listed at 220 right now, so that's not out of range. He seems to have a knack for rushing the passer (28.5 sacks in three seasons).
Those long arms, though. You know where I'm going here.