First, the name.
When Anthony Gair committed to Iowa he was Anthony Morgan from Prestonwood Christian in Plano, Texas. When Iowa received his signed letter of intent on Feb. 1, the signature was “Anthony Gair.” Apparently, his official name is Gair, because a signed letter of intent is a binding legal document. (It’s his mother’s name.)
Iowa beat Arizona for the 6-2, 195-pound safety prospect. Gair committed right around the time that Norm Parker announced his retirement as Iowa’s defensive coordinator.
Morgan’s main contact with the Iowa staff is wide receivers coach Erik Campbell. He cited the strong relationships built with Iowa for eventually choosing Iowa.
“Coach Campbell is a really nice guy and I got to know the players,” Morgan said. “That showed me I would have fun on and off the field. Coach [Phil] Parker has coached a lot of successful guys. Seeing that sold me.”
You have to like that he didn’t freak out over Iowa not having a coordinator. I could see where that would be a dealbreaker or at least something to think about for a recruit. And Gair didn’t approach this flippantly. Stanford, Northwestern and Virginia also offered.
He did meet new Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker. Of course, at the time, Parker was Iowa’s secondary coach.
Now, Parker is the DC and Anthony Morgan is Anthony Gair.
From ESPN.com: Morgan is a tall, well-built, athletic prospect who possesses a hard nose mentality to find the football. Is close to ideal size but would benefit in adding bulk, particularly in the lower body. Makes a quick diagnosis to find the ball. Displays good anticipation skills. Possesses a knack to fill the alleys and fits up to make the stop. Demonstrates a willingness to put his body on the line. Can plant and drive with good burst when in pursuit of ball carrier and getting downhill. Effective blitzer off the edge with good speed and pursuit angles to the QB. Possesses the ability to shed blocks to wrap up ball carrier. Limits yards after catch. Flashes above average ball skills. Quick reactor to bubble pass or run to the outside in coverage.
What Iowa said
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: Anthony is a safety and he’ll come in and play safety for us. He’s a guy we targeted as a safety. Good size and range. Shows toughness.
What I think
Iowa needs safeties, and so Gair has a chance to boost depth. He might have an inside shot at immediate playing time on special teams, taking the same path Nico Law took as a freshman last season.
Iowa needs a strong safety right now. Scratch that. With a new defensive coordinator, Iowa needs to define what it will ask its safeties to do (if there is any change to what’s asked) and plug in the right bodies. Junior Tanner Miller will continue as starter at free safety. Whether the changes on defense are seismic or ripples in the pond, Iowa still needs a strong safety. I think it’ll be Law. It could be Collin Sleeper.
Could it be Anthony Gair? No, probably not. The true freshman safety who actually sees time on defense is a rarity. There was Bob Sanders and then . . . I’m sure there might’ve been one or two others, but no one quickly comes to mind.
Safety has been a weird position for the last few seasons at Iowa. Phil Parker has ID’d players early in their careers, lived through the growing pains and reaped the benefits. Miller is that guy now. Not sure who new secondary coach Darrell Wilson will have in mind for that guy at strong safety.
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