Notes from HawkeyeReport.com: Season of de-commitment

On final home game, Hawkeyes host busy recruiting weekend

Published: November 21 2013 | 10:47 am - Updated: 28 March 2014 | 11:50 pm in
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This is the Hawkeyes final home game of the season. I'm not sure if it's traditionally a giant recruiting weekend. The team usually has an agenda it's focused on. There's also parents coming in for Senior Day and the fanfare that goes with it.

There is definitely an important recruiting element this weekend. HawkeyeReport.com publisher Tom Kakert was kind of enough to break down the list of visitors who'll make their way to Kinnick Stadium.

Thanks to Tom!

As the holiday season approaches, we are also approaching another season in college football recruiting, the de-committing season.

In the past few years we have seen a significant growth in high school football prospects making decisions earlier in the process; we have also seen growth in the number of de-commitments. Nearly every school is going to see prospects leave their commitment column and they will also pick up a few replacements along the way.

In keeping with the holiday season theme, it’s almost like the “White Elephant” game that many families play where you pick a gift and then a fellow family member can steal your gift away and then you can steal a gift yourself.

In many ways, college football recruiting as become one giant White Elephant game, where your neighbors are trying to steal your gifts and you are trying to steal their presents.

In Iowa’s case, they appear to be settling in under the Rutgers commitment tree and taking a long look at their prospects.

The first prospect to waver from the Scarlet Knights was Adonis Jennings, a four star wide receiver who participated in the Rivals Five Star Challenge this summer in Chicago, who visited Iowa earlier this month. Following his visit, Jennings briefly reaffirmed his commitment to Rutgers and then went on an official visit to Pittsburgh the following weekend.  At that point the 6-foot-3 and 190 pound prospect from New Jersey de-committed from Rutgers and is now looking hard at Iowa, Pittsburgh, and could schedule additional official visits.

Adding intrigue to the situation with Jennings is that this week four star quarterback Tyler Wiegers from Detroit, Mich., followed his lead and also de-committed from the Scarlet Knights. Wiegers is ranked as the 167th best prospect in the country according to Rivals.com, 9th best pro style signal caller in the 2014 class, and was named the top offensive performer at the Rivals Camp Series event held in Chicago in May.

Obviously, there seems to be a decent chance that both former Rutgers commits could reunite at Iowa.

While Kirk Ferentz can’t talk about specific recruits, recently on his weekly call-in show he hinted that offensive tackle was a need area they wanted to fill with one or two open scholarships remaining in the 2014 class. One of their top targets will be visiting this weekend. Iowa will be hosting 6-foot-6 and 304 pound offensive lineman Brian Wallace, who is probably their top uncommitted target. Wallace hasn’t spoken much to the media during the recruiting process and Iowa will be his first official visit. The St. Louis native is also planning a visit to Missouri the following weekend and then will make trips to Arkansas and Alabama in early December.

Joining Wallace on the Iowa campus this weekend will be fellow St. Louis area prep and recent Iowa commit, Markel Smith. Once a Missouri commit, Smith de-committed back in April and was still considering the Tigers before committing to Iowa. He had a record setting career St. John Vianney High School, rushing for over 7,000 yards, including over 2,400 yards and 33 touchdown in his senior season. Included in his senior year was a 541 yard and 7 touchdown performance, which set the state record in Missouri.

Also on the Iowa campus this weekend will be one of the Hawkeyes top quarterback targets in 2015, Jack Beneventi from Benet Academy in the Chicago area. Last weekend he visited Illinois, and has previously visited Iowa and Notre Dame, who have all offered. Initially, the 6-foot-6 signal caller has said he would be making an early decision in February, but now he has indicated that he will make his verbal commitment next month.

Another very important visitor has scheduled his official visit for December 13th. Iowa has a need to a pass rushing defensive end and Torey Hendrick could be a great fit to fill that void. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native has double figure offers and will make his first official visit to Iowa City. He says he remains wide open in his recruitment and will take another visit in December and likely three more in January before making his decision. Since he spent this season at ASA College, he would have three years of eligibility remaining.

Two prospects to watch in the coming weeks for the Hawkeyes in the 2014 class are Waukon, Iowa prep standout Parker Hesse and Southfield, Michigan offensive tackle Chukwuma Okorafor. Hesse picked up an offer from Iowa last month and will be playing for a state title this Friday. He will begin looking harder at his options following the game and has made multiple visits to Iowa City this fall. The 6-foot-3 and 205 pound prospect projects to the linebacker position in college.

Okorafor is currently still committed to Western Michigan after making an early pledge to them back in April. Since then he has picked up offers from high major schools, including Iowa and Florida. There have been rumors that he would be visiting Iowa this weekend, but at this point those plans are still in doubt as he decides if he want to stick with his commitment or officially open up his recruitment.

As we head into the final months of football recruiting for the Class of 2014, Iowa has 16 verbal commitments. With only five or six potential scholarships still open, Ferentz and his staff will have to be very selective in their targets as they look to fill their remaining needs in this class.

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