The last time Mark Farley recruited his own flesh and blood, it didn’t work out so well.
Farley went up against a bunch of other programs vying for son Jake’s services in the 2009-10 recruiting cycle, with Jake ultimately choosing the University of Kansas – before transferring to Northern Iowa and stepping into a leadership role with the Panthers last season prior to a leg injury.
This time around, though, the coach – who’s been at the helm of the UNI football team for 13 years – was able to sign his younger son, Jared, straight away.
“I didn’t get the first one to come here, I didn’t recruit him well enough. The second one we did a little better job on,” Farley said with a laugh. “I’m excited to have Jared. He’s a real tough linebacker, he played well through high school, and I think he’ll be a good fit.”
Ever the football coach during National Signing Day on Wednesday -- during which the Panthers announced their 2014 class -- Farley seemed much more eager to talk about what his sons would mean to the program as players than he was about what the family dynamic would be – though he of course remained a proud father at the same time.
He said Jared has a “huge probability” he will redshirt his true freshman season because “we redshirt 95 percent of our freshman” each year, and will get in the mix of the linebacker group with his older brother and hopefully learn at a quick rate.
“They’re going to have to battle for their positions. They’ll be amongst the group,” Farley said. “They’re interchangeable parts. There’s two inside linebackers (in our system) and they’re both inside linebackers, so they’ll play similar. Their age difference is such that there’s really no comparison to what’s going on right now. But they both have their own skills, so I look forward to seeing how it unfolds.”
So starting next fall, it’ll definitely be a family affair in Cedar Falls, with three Farleys on campus.
Jake returns from injury and will hope to once again make a huge impact on the UNI defense, and Jared will the chance to learn from his brother and father.
All that’s left to be seen is what it’ll be like at the dinner table when the family gets together after the guys spend so much time together competing.
“I don’t know (what it’ll be like coaching both sons). I guess we’ll cross that bridge when get to it and let it unfold the way it’s going to unfold,” Farley said. “I never anticipated doing that, and it’ll be neat that they’re both here the same year.
“It’ll be a new experience to them and a new experience for me, I’m sure.”Video courtesy of UNIPanthers.com