Omar Truitt has never been to Iowa, but that didn’t stop him from pledging his college football career to the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Washinton D.C. cornerback committed to the Hawkeyes in early June. He ended a two-month commitment drought at the time and sort of got Iowa back on track after it lost in-state, high-profile O-lineman Ross Pierschbacher.
Sight unseen, Truitt threw in with the Hawkeyes.
“I’ve done a lot of research on it, looked at some reviews, and people have told me a lot about it,” Truitt told Hawkeyeeport.com. “It’s a college town where they eat, sleep, and breathe Iowa football. It’s all about the Hawkeyes out there. I know it’s going to be a great place for me.”
Truitt, a 5-11, 185-pounder, planned to visit Iowa City and commit on Iowa’s elite junior day on June 21.
“What’s the point of waiting if I already know where I want to go?” Truitt said. “That’s where I was kind of at this week, so I just wanted to get it out of the way and do it now instead.”
Truitt fits in at corner. His YouTubes show strong bump-and-run coverage skills and plenty of speed. As a two-way player his junior year at St. John's College High School, Truitt totaled 296 yards and three touchdowns within the Cadets’ offense. On defense last season, Truitt recorded 40 tackles, 10 pass break-ups, six interceptions and a defensive touchdown. He also had six kickoff returns for 206 yards and a TD.
Truitt also has a strong football pedigree, what with his dad, Olanda, having spent five seasons as an NFL wideout before retiring in 1998.
Maryland was Iowa’s closest competitor. The school offered Truitt on May 21. It’s also just 20 minutes from where he lives in D.C.
Distance doesn’t sound like a deal-breaker for Truitt.
“No, it was just about whatever is the best decision for me,” said Truitt, who was recruited by Iowa assistant Chris White. “If it was in California or Maryland or Florida, it doesn’t matter. Whatever is the best spot for me is where I wanted to go.”
Maryland offered after Truitt had a 45-minute meeting with coach Randy Edsall, according to the Washington Post. Iowa called and offered. He told the Post that he had to mute the phone while he yelled to his mom.
“When you first get on the phone with them or first meet them, it hits you,” Truitt told the Post. “You just want to cry, because you know you’ve been working so hard for this moment, that people are finally recognizing your talents and what you can offer to their football program. It’s still a very exciting time.”
You can’t counterbalance the “college tour” portion of this post with what Truitt twice told the Post about Iowa, “a great fit.”
Basics: St. Johns College High School (Fort Washington, Md.), 5-11, 180, cornerback
Dent the depth chart in ’14? — Possible. Remember what coach Kirk Ferentz said about this group of defensive back signees. They have position flexibility because of great ball skills. And then look at the cornerback depth chart. Sophomore Desmond King is the given. Junior Jordan Lomax and sophomore Maurice Fleming are in the mix. Lomax played a little safety during bowl prep. It's going to be trail-and-error to come up with the other corner, a race that definitely includes junior Sean Draper. Truitt's YouTubes show a player who's comfortable with the ball in his hands. One thing about Iowa's last two recruiting classes, the level of overall team athleticism has a chance to make a big leap.
Off-the-top-of-my-head Hawkeye comparison — Micah Hyde (Will Truitt be as tough as Hyde? Remains to be seen. Hyde was a fearless tackler. He didn't get enough credit for that. Truitt seems to have the ball skills and a similar build.)
ESPN.com scouting snippet — Truitt possesses very good size for an athlete. He is tall and thick enough to be versatile and a potential candidate for many positions. His size would not eliminate him. Plays with good strength as he is strong enough to make tackles and also to break them when running with the ball. Plays with good speed. He changes direction quickly and easily and can accelerate when in the open field. . . . Could be candidate wherever there is a need. Plays CB well. He is a physical corner who can change direction. He is capable of being a WR or slot receiver as he catches the ball with his hands and has good after the catch ability. . . . Truitt is a solid BCS prospect, but the question is at what position? The answer will lie with the teams that recruit him. He will be sought after for either side of the ball.
What Iowa said . . .
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz on the 2014 class of defensive backs: “As I said, how many scholarships did we budget for your position again and he just kept recruiting guys. But the guys that we were involved with who we're really excited about and think they're good players, one thing I was intrigued about with most of them is they have two-way flexibility, if you will. We're planning on playing those guys on defense, but just to see guys with ball skills, I think immediately of Micah Hyde who was not a high recruited guy, but that's one thing about Micah, he had great ball skills. He could have been our best receiver his senior year, but I think it all worked out well for him.”
Hyde went in the fifth round of last year's NFL draft and worked himself into a nickel defensive back position and punt returner.
Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson on Truitt and the job Iowa assistant Chris White did recruiting the east: “I think Chris did a tremendous job recruiting out east. He did a great job hanging on to these kids. He developed a relationship with them. A lot of times, those relationships are what pull you through.”
Truitt isn't afraid of contact and that is maybe THE trait when Iowa goes looking for defensive backs: "Especially with what we do. We're so much zone you have to ask your corners to be support the run. There's not a position on our defense where you can say that guy can take a play off from a physicality standpoint, so our corners have to be able to hit."
Athetlicism, too?: "He can do things on special teams and do a lot of stuff for us."
What I think (FWIW, obviously) . . .
From the YouTubes, Truitt looks like a great pick up as a defensive player. He might have high-end offensive skills, too, but from what I saw, you want him for defense. Everything Truitt does he does with strength, especially when the ball is in the air. On his level, everything that was 50-50 was Truitt's. Very strong on the ball, in the air and in the play. You don't want someone whose knees buckle when it's time to contest a ball in the air. Truitt has the tools to be an excellent corner. Defense, in my mind, makes the most sense.