MOUNT VERNON, Iowa – The Iowa coaches delivered a straight-forward message to players attending their camp on Sunday. They were looking for athletes who bought what they were selling.
Class of 2017 member Tristan Wirfs took it seriously. He applied it literally.
When he got on the field, the Mount Vernon (IA) High offensive lineman listened and learned. It worked. The Hawkeyes offered the local kid a scholarship.
"They said they wanted coachable kids and that’s what I tried to be. I tried to be as coachable as possible, absorb the information that they gave me and tried to put it into play," Wirfs told All Hawkeyes in a Monday interview at his school.
Wirfs said he wasn’t thinking about a scholarship offer when he arrived at Iowa for camp. His goal was simple.
"I kind of just went in there trying to do the best that I could, kind of show them what I’ve got. It turned out to be a really good camp. I learned a lot of good stuff from (offensive line coach) Brian Ferentz. It was a great camp, a lot of good kids there. Some great competition. We put in a lot of good work," the 6-foot-4, 265-pounder said.
After the workout, Wirfs said he and Solon’s Jacob Coons waited to be called into Head Coach Kirk Ferentz’s office.
"They took us in one by one. We went in there and he said "scholarships aren’t given, they’re earned. You did a great job today, showed us a lot of good stuff, and you’ve earned yourself a full scholarship offer." That was pretty great," Wirfs said.
Iowa also offered Coons, a ’17 prospect from Solon (IA) High. You can read about it here.
A day later, the enormity of his accomplishment still hadn’t sunk all the way in for Wirfs.
"It’s incredible. It’s something you dream of as a kid, playing Division I sports, but you never think it’s going to happen this early. It’s great," he said.
Wirfs said he’s been to one Iowa game at Kinnick Stadium. It happened when he was 12.
"I’ve lived in Mount Vernon my whole life. It’s always been nice having the Hawkeyes 30 minutes down the road. I’ve always cheered for the Hawkeyes. I never really had a favorite team but I’ve always liked the Hawks," he said.
Wirfs, who also wrestles and plays baseball, is working out with the football team three days a week this summer.
"Upper body strength, I really need to improve that," he said.
Wirfs said Indiana has contacted Mount Vernon Head Coach Lance Peterson about his lineman. Other than that, recruiting has just gotten underway for him.
"It’s all kind of new. I’m just starting into everything. I don’t want to do anything too soon, but on the other hand, I don’t want to wait too long. So, I guess we’ll see.," he said.
Wirfs said academics will play a key role in his decision. He knows he would be in good hands at Iowa in that regard as well as at his position on the field.
"Iowa is a great school. They have an incredible O-Linemen program. They produce NFL linemen every year. That’s incredible," he said.