Sunday afternoon, former Iowa offensive lineman Marshal Yanda had his jersey retired and the weightroom named after him at his hometown Anamosa High School.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said a few words during the ceremony. Yanda brought his Super Bowl ring. He was a Pro Bowler for the Baltimore Ravens this season and was a key cog on an offensive line that lifted the Ravens past San Francisco in Super Bowl XLVII in February.
This is something recruits notice. This is really something prep offensive linemen from the state of Iowa notice.
Saturday, Indianola offensive lineman Keegan Render announced on his Twitter feed that he committed to the Hawkeyes, becoming the eighth commitment for Iowa's 2014 recruiting class. Render, a 6-3, 310-pounder, picked the Hawkeyes over offers from Iowa State and Northern Illinois. Render was a Class 4A first-team all-stater last fall. He told HawkeyeReport.com that he made the call about a month ago.
Officially going be a Hawkeye!— Keegan Render (@KeeganRender) June 22, 2013
"I just hadn't really told anybody," Render said. "I was just kind of keeping it to myself and just wanted to make sure that I was 100% sure I wanted to go to Iowa."
And, yes, Iowa's track record of success on the offensive line was something Render noticed. Iowa assistant Reese Morgan was Render's lead recruiter.
"Well, I just really like coach Morgan and his recruiting style," Render said. "Iowa has a good history of offensive linemen and I'm kind of a downhill run blocker just like they are, so I think I will fit in pretty well with their offense."
Render, a three-star recruit according to Rivals.com, was named a top No. 5 performer in the Midwest by Rivals' Josh Helmholdt last September. Helmholdt wrote: "The 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect plays offensive tackle (as well as defensive tackle) for his Indianola team, but doesn't have the length or feet to play on the outside in college. He is another powerful drive-blocker who uses his strength to overwhelm defensive linemen. The times he went head-to-head with three-star defensive tackle Sam Raridon [West Des Moines Valley defensive tackle, Wisconsin grayshirt commit], Render's strength won out over the upperclassmen's speed. Iowa has already offered the junior prospect, and he looks like several of the big, interior linemen you regularly see lining up for Big Ten programs each and every Saturday."
A sign of perhaps how highly Render sat on Iowa's recruiting board is the fact that the school offered last June. Render is the fourth commit from the state of Iowa for the '14 class and the third O-lineman from Iowa, joining Cedar Falls' Ross Pierschbacher and Dubuque Senior's Lucas Legrand.
"I'm glad I finally got it over with and got it out of the way, so I can focus on my own high school team and just focus on getting better as an individual instead of where I want to go to college next year, "Render said. "It's going to be nice to give everything to my team this season instead of worrying every Saturday about going somewhere for a different game and all of that."
-- Maryland DT Jemal Averette could be the next to commit. The 6-2, 285-pounder told HawkeyeReport.com that his visit this weekend went really well and that Iowa is in the driver's seat. His offers are Iowa, Toledo and Charlotte.
-- St. Louis offensive tackle Brian Wallace took his second visit to Iowa this weekend, according to HawkeyeReport.com. He told the site that he was impressed with Iowa, but he does plan to take all five of his visits this fall (Iowa, Alabama, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Arkansas). "As far as how I feel about Iowa, I do feel strong about them. Actually, when I was there - both the first and the second time, but the second time I felt this way even more - I felt more of an at home feeling just because of my experiences there."
Wallace (6-6, 304) goes to Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, the same school incoming Iowa RB Jonathan Parker attended.
-- Cedar Rapids Xavier's Matt Nelson, a 6-7, 249-pound defensive end, visited Stanford this weekend. He told HawekeyeReport.com that he plans one more visit to Iowa City before he sits down to make a decision among his three finalists, which is Iowa, Stanford and Notre Dame.
He hopes to have things wrapped up by early July if possible and is focused on three factors.
"It's academics, which they all have what I'm looking for really, and then just the player-coach relationship and if I'm going to be able to play or not," Nelson said.
Ross Pierschbacher, OL, 6-4, 275 Cedar Falls High School ****
Jay Scheel, QB 6-2, 170 Union High School (La Porte City) ****
Lucas LeGrand, OL, 6-5, 260 Dubuque Senior High School ***
Omar Truitt, CB, 5-11, 185, St. John’s College High School (Washington D.C.) ***
C.J. Hilliard, RB, 5-9, 192, St. Xavier High School (Cincinnati, Ohio) ***
Jyaz Jones, S, 6-0, 172, South Oak Cliff High School (Dallas, Texas) **
Jameer Outsey, OLB, 6-3, 220, Franklin High School (Somerset, N.J.) ***
Keegan Render, OL, 6-3, 310, Indianola High School ***
* — Rivals.com star ratingExcellent hands. Wins the race to get his hands on the defender most of the time. That’s high-level lineman thinking. Good first step for a big OL. Also, he seemed to be very conscious of his pad level and keep his back flat out of that first step. He’s getting great coaching and he’s taking it to heart. The CIML butts heads with the MVC and (sometimes) the MAC for best prep leagues in Iowa. Given this slice of film, Render doesn’t have an equal on this level. At 6-3, it's easy to dismiss the possibility of Render perhaps playing tackle at some point, but pretty much everyone said that about Marshal Yanda, a 6-3 juco who finished his career at Iowa as a left tackle. Render likely projects inside, though, and his "downhill blocker" statement makes it sounds that's his immediate aim.