Iowa went to unprecedented places in recruiting last summer, sewing up 15 verbal commitments for the first time in Kirk Ferentz's 14 seasons at Iowa.
Ferentz always cautioned that the trick would be keeping the commitments. Verbal commitments are non-binding. None of this is real until the signed letter of intent whirs into the program's fax machine on Feb. 6. Iowa has had some breakage.
Since October, Iowa has lost its top two defensive players in the '13 class. Four-star defensive end David Kenney de-committed in favor of Indiana in October. Saturday, Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.) safety Delano Hill said yes to an offer from Michigan.
This leaves Iowa and Minnesota as the only two programs in the Big Ten without at least one four-star recruit, according to Rivals.com. Michigan leads the Big Ten with 15 four-star recruits. Ohio State is next with 12. Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Indiana have four apiece. Michigan State and Illinois have two. Purdue and Northwestern each have one.
The stars are a measure for prep athletes entering a program, a guide based on Rival's scouting and video study. They're obviously not an unbeatable indicator for future success, but the more stars, the better.
That said, the two Iowa lost aren't surprises.
Earlier this fall, Hoosiers coach Kevin Wilson hired Kenney's father, David Sr., as a "quality control assistant for recruiting." Kenney, who was Iowa's first commit for the 2013 class, was on the clock therafter.
“If someone’s dad works at an institution, you might imagine, we suspected this could be a possibility. Not to get specific about anything,” Ferentz said shortly after Kenney's switch happened.
Hill committed to Iowa last April. He visited Notre Dame and planned a visit to Pitt. Michigan offered this week and it didn't take long for the switch. Hill, the nation's No. 23 safety according to Rivals and ESPN, visited Ann Arbor with Cass Tech teammate, OL David Dawson, this weekend.
So, with Friday's commitment of running back LeShun Daniels, Iowa is at 16 commitments with 19 as a possible finishing number. Iowa has two other safeties on its commitment list in Solomon Warfield and Malik Rucker, who received an offer from Texas Tech on Saturday. Des Moines Lincoln linebacker Trevon Young is the one potential defensive end on Iowa's committed list.
Derrick Willies, WR, 6-3, 190 Rock Island (Ill.) High School ***
Colin Goebel, OL 6-4, 275 Naperville (Ill.) North High School ***
Nathan Bazata, DT, 6-2, 270 Howells (Neb.) High School ***
Brant Gressel, DT, 6-2, 283 Centerville (Ohio) High School ***
John Kenny, LB, 6-2, 210 Caramel (Ind.) High School ***
Nic Shimonek, QB, 6-4, 205 Mildred (Corsicana, Texas) High School ***
Malik Rucker, CB, 6-0, 175 Cooper (New Hope, Minn.) High School ***
Derrick Mitchell, Jr., WR, 6-0, 185 Vashon (St. Louis, Mo.) High School ***
Andre Harris, WR, 6-1, 170 Kirkwood (Mo.) High School ***
Sean Welsh, OL, 6-3, 275 Springboro (Ohio) High School ***
Ike Boettger, ATH, 6-5, 220 Cedar Falls High School **
Trevon Young, DE, 6-4, 220 Lincoln (Des Moines) High School ***
Solomon Warfield, DB, 6-0, 170 St. Edwards (Cleveland, Ohio) ***
Jon Wisnieski, TE, 6-5, 215 West Des Moines Dowling ***
Damond Powell, WR, 5-11, 175 Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) (***)
LeShun Daniels, RB, 5-11, 220 Harding (Warren, Ohio) High School (***)
* = Rivals.com’s star rating