In the new jet-speed world of college football recruiting, decisions are made earlier and earlier.
Iowa had the majority of this class in place before August. Safety Solomon Warfield committed in June and he stuck. The 6-0, 170-pounder had plenty of options, with 19 offers, including Michigan State, Penn State and Arizona State. He also was the third Ohio prep to give a “yes” to the Hawkeyes in the 2013 recruiting class. The Hawkeyes ended up with five Ohioans, which made it a very productive first year of recruiting for O-line coach Brian Ferentz, who was in his first year on the staff after moving over from the New England Patriots. He recruits Ohio for the Hawkeyes.
“I talked to coach Kirk Ferentz first and then I talked coach Brian Ferentz and [secondary] coach [Darrell] Wilson,” Warfield told HawkeyeReport.com. “I just told them that I felt really comfortable there when I came down to visit and I really like their program, so that’s where I want to go to next year. They were really excited.”
Warfield was ranked No. 17 in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer’s list of the top 50 prep players from northeast Ohio.
Warfield is from Lorain, the same town that produced Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens.
Check this link for a little more background on Warfield, who kind of went through the recruiting process in picking his high school, St. Edward in Cleveland.
From the post: Warfield attended Ohio State’s camp after his freshman and sophomore seasons, attended the All-American combine in Arizona — he’s hoping to get an invitation to play in the Army All-American game after the season — and received an invitation to The Opening, although he couldn’t go due to injury, after a strong performance at the Nike SPARQ combine.
The 6-foot, 170-pounder ran a 4.48 in the 40-yard dash, benches 270 pounds and squats 330. The Hawkeyes are snatching him up because he’s a tackling machine and knows how to offer run support, but Warfield also plans on playing some offense this season at St. Edward.
The combines, camps and the Eagles’ schedule have prepared him for the rigors of life in the Big Ten.
“It’s pretty sweet because I play against all the guys that I’ll probably see in college,” Warfield said.
“Most of these guys I’m seeing at the camps are all D-I recruits and most of them are playing at a top-level school. So it’s great to play the competition now so that I’ll be more prepared for college.”
Scouting snippet (from ESPN.com)
The Positive: If this guy had a bit more size than we%u2019d likely be talking about a big time BCS prospect. Still, Warfield plays the position a lot bigger than his measurbables suggest and is a high-impact hitter who may be falling under the radar. Has good height and length but is slight in build and will need to add bulk to continue producing with his aggressive style of play. Quick-twitched reactive athlete who may have better burst than pure speed but still covers the field showing very good range. Makes smart reads on the quarterback and anticipates the pass. Transitions out of pedal quickly with impressive initial burst and explosion. Cleans up on intermediate routes with driving force. Arrives with ball and often separates it from the receiver with jarring blows. Intimidating presence over the middle. Shows similar closing speed when breaking on perimeter passes. Limits RAC with direct pursuit angles on short passes and sure tackling. Reliable in the open field as a cut tackler.
The Pause: We do feel that his man-to-man skills will need to be polished and he much stronger playing ball to man in zone schemes. Deep coverage range is another area that is somewhat of a question mark as are his ball skills. A bit less reactive on run support but still gets downhill quickly running the alley and closes on ball carriers with speed and direct pursuit angles. Will need to add bulk to take on blocks and maintain his base as an in the box force player in college. We feel he may need time in general to physically develop and match his fast and physical style of play. That said, Warfield competes with an edge while he may lack ideal size, hips and speed he is a natural ball-hawk and should be able to mask his weaker areas at the college level. A potential great special teams coverage guy adding to his value.
What Iowa said . . .
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: Asked if Warfield is a strong safety . . . “He’s a safety for us. We’ll fit him in where we think he best fits, whether it’s free or strong, we’ll see.” . . . “He comes from a great program. He’s another great character kid. An early commitment to us and a guy we feel very strongly about.” No waver . . . “Yes, that was most of the class. Those kids who made those commitments [before Iowa finished 4-8 last season] and were with us through and through. That’s another thing you feel very strongly about, just the character of the class.”
What Rivals.com said . . .
Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt: “I’ve gotten to see a lot of Solomon the last two years in the ‘Holy War,’ that’s Lakewoods St. Eds vs. Cleveland St. Ignatius. It’s one of the top 25 rivalries in high schools. . . . Solomon Warfield is a head hunter. He’s the strong safety to Malik Rucker’s free safety. And I think those two complement each other extremely well in this class. Warfield does have some deficiencies in pass coverage, not that those can’t be fixed. He’s very rangy but more in a run support aspect. He’s a guy who can come up from that safety spot and be almost like an extra linebacker, because he hits like a linebacker.”
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
Warfield sounds “strong safety.” With what was said and written about Rucker, it sounds as though Iowa wanted to recruit a certain kind of safety in this class, the hitting kind. You can coach coverage; you can’t coach reckless abandon. Iowa’s safety play took a dip last season. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker now has two prospects he can mold into whatever kind of safety he wants.
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