IOWA CITY, Iowa – Following a flurry of summer commitments, things have quieted considerably as it pertains to Iowa football recruiting.
That development isn’t all that surprising. With 22 known verbals in the fold, the bus, so to speak, is just about full. The Hawkeyes could take up to 25 prospects in the 2016 cycle.
Recruiting Coordinator Seth Wallace told us at media day earlier this month that there are a handful of guys that they would welcome with open arms. We’ve placed the players to which we believe he is referring on the latest All Hawkeyes Big Board below.
Wallace also mentioned that there are players that will emerge as worthy candidates for open scholarships with strong senior seasons. Iowa has found these athletes with a solid success rate in the past.
Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility of de-commitments. It’s not a given but has become a common occurrence, and not just at Iowa.
Although plenty of things can change in this class, we can view things as they stand today. And we do so in The All Hawkeyes 2016 Big Board 6.0:
(Explaining the Big Board: It’s not a listing of the top prospects with Iowa offers. Rather, I compile this rundown based on several factors mixed together in hopes of producing my most educated guess for where the Hawkeyes stand with a given class. Recruiting is fluid and ever-changing, and this content should be viewed as a guide, not gospel. In a nutshell, the Big Board consists of prospects with Iowa offers that are realistic targets. I base that on information I gather through my interviews and also outside sources.)
1. Matt Farniok
Height, Weight: 6-5, 310
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Sioux Falls (SD) Washington High
Reported Offers: Arizona State, California, Florida, Florida State, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Penn State, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Washington State, Wisconsin.
Rankings: Rivals (4 stars, No. 23 OT Nationally), Scout (4 stars, No. 24 OT Nationally), 247 (4 stars, No. 14 OT Nationally)
Skinny: The younger brother of former Iowa State center Tom Farniok would be a huge catch, literally and figuratively, for the Hawkeyes. The additions of Spencer Williams and Cole Banwart, who project on the inside, make tackle the top target area on the offensive front. Farniok announced earlier this month that that he has a Top Four of Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State and Florida State (no order). He also said in earlier interviews that the Hawkeyes and Huskers stand out to him right now because of his strong relationships with the coaches. Landing him serves the double purpose of fortifying your roster while keeping him off that of two Big Ten rivals. From what I’ve heard, Iowa is positioned well but will need a strong season to secure a commitment here.
2. Alaric Jackson
Height, Weight: 6-7, 285
Position: Offensive Tackle
School: Detroit (MI) Renaissance
Reported Offers: Iowa, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Nebraska, Purdue, Toledo, Wisconsin.
Rankings: Rivals (3 starts, No. 18 in Michigan, No. 58 OT nationally), Scout (3 stars, 33rd OT Nationally, 8th OT in Midwest), 247 (3 stars, 36th OT Nationally, 11th regardless of position in Michigan)
Skinny: Jackson is an exceptional athlete at tackle. He favored basketball most of his young life (his mother wouldn’t let him play football because she was afraid he would get hurt) before giving football a shot for the first time last fall. Needless to say, he took to it pretty well. Jackson is intrigued by Iowa and its success at his position but he seems pretty deliberate about his recruiting process. With how much his stock has sky rocketed in less than a year, a strong senior season could result in even more options for the big man from the Motor City. He’s talked about visiting Iowa City and that’s the next step for the Hawkeyes in their pursuit of Jackson.
3. Jovan Swann
Height, Weight: 6-3, 250
Position: Defensive Tackle
School: Greenwood (IN) Center Grove High
Reported Offers: Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Ball State, Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Miami (OH), Mississippi State, Navy, Western Michigan, Stanford.
Rankings: Rivals (3 stars, 44th DT Nationally, 10th overall in Indiana), Scout (3 stars, 31st DT Nationally, 1st DT in Indiana), 247 (3 stars, 41st DT Nationally, 8th overall in Indiana)
Skinny: Iowa jumped in relatively early with Swann and positioned itself well. He visited the school in early March and returned for April’s spring game. Since that first stop when Swann raved about the Hawkeyes and said they were "a front-runner" in his decision-making process, Michigan State, Vanderbilt, and most recently, Stanford, have offered. The Cardinal moved into immediate contention here. Swann doesn’t play at a position of need as it relates to this class and the current commitments, but he’s a really strong prospect athletically and academically. He’d fit well in Iowa City.
4. Noah Fant
Height, Weight: 6-5, 210
Position: Tight End/Defensive End
School: Omaha (NE) South High
Reported Offers: Iowa, Buffalo, California, Iowa State, Nebraska, Ohio, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Wyoming.
Rankings: Rivals (3 Stars, No. 2 overall in Nebraska, No. 37 DE nationally), Scout (3 stars, 71st DE nationally, 15th DE Midlands, 1st DE in Nebraska), 247 (3 stars, 27th ATH nationally, 1st regardless of position in Nebraska)
Skinny: A lot of schools see Fant as an athletic edge rusher. Iowa is in that group but prefers him as a skilled tight end capable of making plays with the ball in his hands. Fant likes the idea of playing offense and had the Hawkeyes in his Top 4 after visiting for the spring game in April. He planned to commit in May but has tapped the brakes on that and is reportedly scheduled to announce his decision on Aug. 28. The smart money is on the home-state Huskers here but Iowa is in the race. The Iowa coaches convinced him to come to their June recruiting tailgate and are doing a good job making him consider a place other than his home-state school. That’s a tall task but he’s the No. 1 TE on the board.
5. Albert Okwuegbunam
Height, Weight: 6-5, 225
Position: Tight End
School: Springfield (IL) Sacred Heart Griffin
Reported Offers: Iowa, Cincinnati, Iowa State, Miami (Ohio), Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Southern Miss, Syracuse, Toledo, Western Michigan, Wyoming.
Rankings: Rivals (3 Stars, No. 58 TE nationally, No. 15 player overall in Illinois), Scout (3 stars, No. 22 TE nationally), 247 (3 Stars, No. 33 tight end nationally, No. 18 overall player in Illinois).
Skinny: Okwuegbunam remains in play after visiting in April. He was impressed with what he saw. He’s embracing the history of his position at the school and feels like the system will utilize his skills. Minnesota has been the stiffest competition among the programs who had offered until Michigan State offered in June. The Spartans have been cleaning up in Illinois and could swoop in and grab a player who Iowa really could use. Missouri also has become a player here and Nebraska presented an opportunity to him on Wednesday. He doesn’t not appear to be in a hurry to commit so how the season plays out for the schools he’s considering could play a prominent role in his decision.
6. Brandon Drayton
Height, Weight: 6-2, 180
School: Largo (FL) High
Reported Offers: Iowa, Georgia Southern, Indiana, Liberty, Marshall, South Florida, Syracuse, Toledo.
Rankings: Rivals (3 stars), Scout (3 stars, No. 133 S nationally, No. 36 S in South Region), 247 (3 stars, No. 171 WR nationally, No. 143 overall in FL)
Skinny: Iowa hosted 2015 Largo safety Jonathan Crawford on an official visit only to see him end up at Indiana. The Hoosiers are part of the competition for Drayton, who plays at the school coached by former Hawkeye defensive back Marcus Paschal. Drayton said he would visit Iowa City and Bloomington this summer but that did not transpire. Drayton has set up an official visit to Marshall on Sept. 6, the only one he’s scheduled to date. Scout.com reported that Drayton is close to finalizing an official to Iowa.
7. K.J. Sails
Height, Weight: 5-11, 170
School: East Bay (Gibsonton, FL) High
Reported Offers: Cincinnati, Iowa, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Wisconsin, others.
Rankings: Rivals (3 stars, 50th S nationally, 84 overall in FL), Scout (3 stars), 247 (3 stars, No. 36 CB nationally, No. 48 overall in FL)
Skinny: Sails unofficially visited Iowa in early July and then the Hawkeyes made his Top 6 later in the month. The same things can be said for Wisconsin. He’s said he wants to officially visit the Iowa and the Badgers and the Big Ten rivals appear to be among the front runners for his services. Sails in a dynamic athlete who could figure into the return game in college as well as playing multiple positions in the secondary. It’s the type of versatility that programs covet.
8. Kendric Pryor
Height, Weight: 6-1, 175
School: Homewood (IL) Flossmoor
Reported Offers: Army, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, Connecticut, Illinois State, Iowa State, Western Michigan, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Rankings: Rivals (3 Stars, No. 18 in Illinois), Scout (2 Stars), 247 (3 Stars, No. 25 in Illinois)
Skinny: Like Drayton and Sails, Pryor is a well-rounded athlete that projects at numerous positions at the next level. He’s made his mark so far as a prep receiver but is expected to play more in the secondary during his senior season. Pryor visited Iowa earlier this month. At least initially, the Hawkeyes see him as a defensive back. Wisconsin also is a strong contender here for the kid at Warren Holloway’s alma mater.