There is a lot to like about Ruben Lile.
First, he's 6-3, 200 pounds and, according to this piece in the Detroit News, has room to grow.
Physically, Lile might not be through growing. His 18th birthday isn't until September. Lile said his doctors told him he could grow to 6-4 or possibly 6-5. If that happens he might find himself playing receiver.
Lile played safety/receiver from Detroit Cass Tech and helped the school win its first state title last November. Lile was one of seven Cass Tech seniors who signed with a Division I school. Linebacker Laron Taylor will join him at Iowa.
It sounds as though the position is open-ended for Lile. It also sounds as though he doesn't have his heart set on any one position in particular.
"I always wanted to play for a Big Ten school," he said. "Iowa was the first one to offer me (a scholarship), so I took it."
According to the Detroit News, Michigan and Michigan State didn't offer Lile. Wisconsin made a late run, but did the Badgers have a chance with a kid who shelled out the cash to have this done to his football cleats?
Lile comes with a great football body and some wheels, running the 40 in 4.55 seconds. He also kicked off and returned punts for Cass Tech.
“The coaches said I could choose where I want to play when I get there,” said Lile, “but I think they have a bigger need in the secondary, so I’m thinking safety right now.”
From ESPN.com: Carries his pads well; demonstrates a natural, smooth running stride with a short burst when in traffic. His size, speed and playing strength indicate production beyond just that of a possession receiver if at the non-BCS level, but we feel he could be a fit for BCS programs as well. Redzone upside due to his size, long arms and leaping ability is very strong. Lile has a chance and may be flying under the radar a bit. Quality prospect.
What Iowa coaches said
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: Lile is all over the map. He is a guy we are targeting as a defensive back. He could be a guy who plays wide receiver. He is that big, at least. He could grow out of all those positions. This kid is all of 6-3. Smart kid, tough kid, really good athlete. We'll see. Again, he's an athlete that we need there.
What I think
The ESPN.com scouting report focused on Lile as a safety. If he isn't done growing and gets into the 6-5 range, I think he's a receiver. Iowa has needs at safety and receiver, so it starts at safety for Lile, but what if he grows out of it? You can't account for nature.
Now can he grow into a tight end or linebacker? I wouldn't discount those possibilities. I think it's smart on Iowa's part to start Lile out on defense, because I think it's easier to transition from defense to offense. Defense is a mentality that, IMO, is tougher to nurture than offense.
I also believe Iowa has quietly craved a 6-3 safety who can get from the boundary to the sideline in a blink. Then again, who doesn't?
Plus, he was the first recruit to get his fax into the Iowa offices on signing day. All that and he can work a fax machine.