IOWA CITY — Yes, Wednesday was national signing day, the one day of the year college football coaches stop recruiting and maybe have a pizza.
Iowa is just like every other school in that regard.
The Hawkeyes introduced a class of 24 recruits. There is room for one more, offensive lineman Alex Kozan, who, at this moment, remains uncommitted and deciding between the Hawkeyes, Michigan and Auburn.
Iowa filled immediate needs with running backs Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill. It filled potential immediate needs with punter Connor Kornbrath and huge defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (6-foot-4, 320). The Hawkeyes also refilled the pipeline with a pair of quarterbacks, four offensive linemen and a pair of projects at defensive end.
The Hawkeyes recruited an army of defensive backs (five) who could end up at wide receiver and a couple of wide receivers who could end up as defensive backs.
Rivals.com and Scout.com ranked the Hawkeyes class No. 41 in the country. Scout had Iowa fourth in the Big Ten; Rivals had Iowa at No. 6. The Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart calls Iowa’s class the “sleeper” of the Big Ten.
“Iowa filled need and that’s what recruiting is all about,” said Josh Helmholdt, Midwest recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. “I think they addressed a big need at running back and defensive linemen who have all the physical tools.”
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz summed up national signing day fairly well during a Wednesday news conference.
“It’s really beginning to look like [NFL] draft coverage in some ways, and there are a lot of similarities,” Ferentz said. “To me, the NFL draft is a celebration of what a player did in college. Today, all the TV coverage is really a celebration of what players have done in high school.”
Recruiting was the focus Wednesday, but buried in the fine print was a scheduled news conference with Ferentz next Wednesday. This is when the world might possibly learn who Iowa’s next defensive coordinator is.
“I’m hoping so, I’m hoping so,” Ferentz said. “I think we’ll be able to make an announcement, if HR [human relations] lets us.”
Iowa’s defensive coordinator position has been opened since Norm Parker announced his retirement Dec. 11. Ferentz said at the start he would be deliberate in his search, but recruiting has also been a front-burner issue.
Ferentz was asked Wednesday if had settled on a hire.
“I think we’re on the right path, I feel pretty good,” he said. “Just in a nutshell, we moved like a tortoise again, kind of like ’99 [when he hired his initial staff at Iowa]. There were a lot of different scenarios I wanted to run through my mind. . . . Unless you have to do something, why do something?
“Give yourself some time to think the different scenarios out. I’ve been through a few of them. I think we’re getting to where we want to get.”
Ferentz said the lack of a defensive coordinator wasn’t a factor in recruiting. The timing is the announcement is difficult to interpret. Iowa defensive backs coach Phil Parker, considered a logical in-house candidate with 13 seasons on staff, has been busy on the road recruiting. There also could be a candidate who’ll be coaching in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Giants linebackers coach Jim Herrmann, who ran a “bend don’t break” type of defense as defensive coordinator for nine seasons at Michigan, would be a logical possibility.
Ferentz wouldn’t confirm that LeVar Woods, the former administrative assistant who was promoted to interim D-line coach when Rick Kaczenski departed for Nebraska in December, is a full-time assistant coach.
“Nothing is official right now,” Ferentz said. He added that there are two openings and that he couldn’t promise an announcement could be made on the second next week.
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