Sean Welsh, a 6-3, 275-pound offensive lineman, tweeted at about on a July Friday that he “committed to the University of Iowa.” Welsh had 16 offers, including West Virginia, Miami (Fla.) and Kentucky.
According to HawkeyeReport.com, Welsh visited Iowa City this week. Iowa coaches told him the school had an exclusive spot for him until that July Friday. After that, Iowa then would accept a commitment from any other offensive line prospect who had an Iowa offer.
“Coach [Brian] Ferentz told me that they were heading toward wrapping up their recruiting and I had until today to get my spot and after that it was open game on the offensive line,” Welsh said. “It might have pushed me along a little bit, but I knew Iowa was the place for me.”
O-line coach Brian Ferentz, also a former Iowa O-lineman, picked up five recruits out of Ohio this year. Welsh might’ve been his easiest sell.
Welsh said he called the Iowa coaches this afternoon with the news and got his future position coach and primary recruiter, Brian Ferentz on the phone to share the news. The younger Ferentz quickly handed the phone over to coach Kirk Ferentz so he could be the “first” to get the news.
“I called Brian Ferentz and told him that I was committing and he said he was going to pretend he didn’t hear what I just said and handed the phone to coach Kirk Ferentz and I told him I was committing. They were both thrilled with the news and I was happy to tell them,” Welsh said.
Welsh said the Hawkeyes reputation in the Big Ten along with Brian Ferentz were what sealed the deal.
“Coach Brian Ferentz has been my guy from the beginning. I have a great relationship with him and that was a big selling point that he would be my position coach,” Welsh said. “Once Iowa offered they went right to the top of my list of schools. I grew up watching Big Ten Football and I have seen what Iowa is all about, especially on the offensive line. After taking it all in, I knew it was the right decision.”
Committing in July can make you a target. Kentucky, which hired former Iowa player Mark Stoops as head coach, took a swing at Welsh.
“Every once in a while I’ll get a message from a different coach at a different school online,” Welsh said. “Actually, the new offensive line coach (John Schlarman) from Kentucky messaged me and he asked if I was interested.
“I told him my situation. I told him I was committed to Iowa but that if anything went wrong and for some reason, God forbid, that I couldn’t go to Iowa, then Kentucky would be a viable option.”
It didn’t get very far, and Welsh signed with the Hawkeyes on Feb. 6.
Scouting snippet (from ESPN.com)
The Positive: This prospect runs well showing he can release to the second level and get out in front of ball carriers downfield. His initial quickness and explosion gain him an immediate advantage which is sustainable due to his base and persistent leg drive; displays the hand strength and pop needed to knock defenders off the ball consistently. Is effective when pulling; can clear trash while adjusting his blocking angle on the move. Demonstrates the foot quickness needed to adjust his feet to quick change of direction movement. His athleticism enables him to gain leverage when reach blocking against offset down linemen; can consistently get a hat on active 1st and 2nd level defenders. Should have the physical tools needed to make all the run blocks at the next level. His arm length and nimble feet will be assets in pass protection. Sets quickly with the bend and slide needed to handle up-field speed without crossing his feet; has double read athletic skills along with the ability to recover and get out of trouble in space.
The Pause: Welsh is very efficient playing the tackle spot however we feel his size and athleticism are better suited for the offensive guard position at the major level of competition. His frame should be able to support additional body mass over time. . . . laying out of a three point stance, we detect some lower body stiffness when pulling but other than that his agility and balance allows him to play on his feet in space. . . . All areas of hand use will need refinement. Has the nasty, punishing finishing effort we like to see when evaluating offensive linemen. Although Welsh doesn’t appear to be an immediate starter at the BCS level of play, early playing time is a possibility unless a red shirt year is deemed necessary.
What Iowa said . . .
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: “Probably an inside guy. A very physical-type kid. Strong, tough, in the mold of a lot of the guys who made us successful.”
What Rivals.com said . . .
Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt: “We project him as a guard. He could play center if the need is there. He’s a very strong guy. He’s the big, ugly kind. He’s going to battle with defensive tackles. His jersey is going to be dirty and muddy and bloody by the end of the day. He’s an interior bruiser.”
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
I think we’ve thoroughly covered this ground. Sounds like Welsh will be a guard and will be a pain in the [bleepness] for interior D-linemen. He had a nice collection of offers and handled the kind-of ultimatum from Iowa really well. He wanted to be at Iowa, so he took the offer after being given a deadline. That’s a player who wants to be in Iowa City. He also was committed for a long period of time, so it’s set in for him and he probably already sees himself in class and in practice.
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