A bigger picture look at what might happen in Iowa football recruiting during the next few months from HawkeyeReport.com publisher Tom Kakert.
But, during that three-month span that included 12 official visitors, the Hawkeyes had nothing to show for it.
That changed this week with a pair of commitments from Florida. First to jump on board was Greg Mabin, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound wide receiver from Ft. Lauderdale, who gave his verbal commitment on Tuesday. One day later, 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end prospect Daumantas Venckus said yes to the Hawkeyes.
As we head into the final months of recruiting for 2012 class, Iowa stands at 12 verbal commitments. This week, coach Kirk Ferentz said Iowa’s class will be somewhere between 18 to 20 prospects on signing day (Feb. 1). Keep in mind that under Ferentz, Iowa has never signed less than 20 prospects in any recruiting class, so assume the high-end number is the correct on when it is all said and done.
The question is, with potentially eight scholarship slots still remaining open, which positions will they focus in on and who are the top prospects available at those positions?
Iowa will certainly sign at least one quarterback in the Class of 2012, especially since A.J. Derby moved from quarterback to linebacker last month. What remains to be seen is if it will be two signal callers and when will the Iowa coaches extend an offer to someone to play quarterback.
At this time, quarterback recruiting is still in the evaluation stage. That means tapes are being evaluated and passed around the office for further evaluation. Expect the action at quarterback to pick up in the next three weeks with an offer to someone, but it’s not clear who that prospect will be.
Iowa will likely take at least one running back in this class. The best bet right now would probably be David Smith from Midlothian, Ill. Smith has had Iowa as his favorite for a while, but hasn’t felt comfortable enough to make a verbal commitment. Incidentally, Smith will be making an official visit this weekend to Purdue, who will be Iowa’s opponent today. [Marc edit -- HawkeyeInsider.com reported Thursday night that Iowa was out of the running for Smith.]
Another name to watch is Greg Garmon, power running back from Erie, Pa. Garmon doesn’t plan to announce his decision until early January, so it could be a waiting game for the Iowa coaches.
At wide receiver, the Hawkeyes have two verbal commitments and would probably like to add one or two prospects to their 2012 recruiting haul. Leading the way on their wish list is Des Moines Dowling prep Amara Darboh. The four-star receiver is the top ranked player in the state of Iowa in 2012 and is still considering Iowa, Notre Dame and Michigan, where he will make his official visit to next weekend when the Wolverines face Ohio State.
On the offensive line, Iowa may add one more recruit to the two commits they already have secured. A few names to watch include Alex Kozan from Colorado, who made his official visit to Iowa earlier this year and Mike Shoff, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound line prospect from Nebraska. Shoff appears to be waiting to see if the homestate Huskers offer a scholarship. The big fish still on Iowa’s board is four-star offensive lineman Jordan Diamond. The Chicago native has been pretty quiet as far as setting up official visits, but has indicated that Iowa will be one of them.
After watching Iowa’s defensive line struggle this year, defensive line help will be a big priority. Iowa currently stands at three defensive line commits in defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson from the Chicago area, Drew Ott, a defensive end prospect from Giltner, Neb., and Venckus.
Still on the radar at defensive line are Nate Lohn, who visited Iowa City this fall. He will be deciding between Iowa and Stanford. Defensive tackle Aaron Curry, who made his official visit to Iowa for the win over Michigan, will make a trip to Missouri early next month. An intriguing prospect who may have Iowa at the top of his list of schools right now is Faith Ekaktie from Lake Forest, Ill. Ekaktie is also giving Northwestern a serious look.
In the defensive backfield, Iowa looks to add to their two commits already on board for 2012. Maurice Fleming, of Chicago, and Ruben Lile, of Detroit, have been committed for several months and remain firm in their decision.
Iowa could be looking to add two more to the defensive backfield before they complete their work. Texas prep Anthony Morgan visited Iowa this fall and at the time, he said the Hawkeyes were his leader. He has yet to set up any other official visits. This week Iowa set up an official visit for Illinois prep Ka’Ra Stewart, who has picked up scholarship offers in recent weeks from Illinois, Missouri, Northwestern, and Purdue. A name to watch could be Jordan Fields from Grand Blanc, Mich. Fields has been a long time commit to Central Michigan, but recently made an unofficial visit to Iowa. If the Hawkeyes offer, Fields could make a change in his recruitment.Two positions that we haven’t mentioned are tight end and linebacker. With a glut of tight ends on the roster, this could be a year where no new players are added. At linebacker, Iowa has a verbal commitment from LeRon Taylor, who is a high school teammate of Lile. That may end up being it at linebacker this year, but Iowa will continue to work on four-star prospect Quanzell Lambert from Sicklerville, N.J . Lambert recently visited Oklahoma and has an official visit to Alabama coming up in early December.