When you think of Iowa football, you think offensive line. It’s the only school in the country to produce four NFL first-rounders at the position since 2004.
Sunday, last year’s starting tackles, Brandon Scherff and Andrew Donnal, started as rookies for the Redskins and Rams, respectively. Marshal Yanda, considered one of the top linemen in the NFL, signed a four-year, $37.4M extension with Baltimore last month.
It’s not flashy. It’s not the cover of Madden. But it’s effective.
Recruits notice. Class of 2017 Bettendorf tackle Mark Kallenberger (66, 240) is paying attention.
“I was an Iowa fan growing up. Iowa is just a powerhouse for football and they always have an offensive lineman getting drafted into the NFL,” he said.
Kallenberger returned to Iowa on Saturday for another unofficial visit. He watched the Hawkeyes knock off rival Minnesota, 40-35, under the lights in front of a sold out Kinnick Stadium.
Kallenberger has secured scholarship offers from Nebraska, Iowa State and Eastern Michigan. Followers of recruiting wondered if Iowa would jump in last weekend. While the Hawkeyes held off, they indicated that an opportunity could be forthcoming in the near future.
“I think that they will offer but not during season from what they have been saying to me,” Kallenberger said. “When Coach Brian Ferentz and Coach Reese Morgan repeated January to me that made me kind of think that an offer will come in January.”
Ferentz, the offensive line coach, stopped to speak with Kallenberger and his parents for an extended period of time on the field before Saturday’s game.
“He told me that he is very impressed with my film and liked what he saw when he came to one of my games,” Kallenberger said. “He also told me to just be patient because they are more worried about their team right now and told me to wait for January and just kept repeating that.”
Nebraska and Iowa State have been building relationships with Kallenberger. He’s visited Ames and is scheduled to be in Lincoln when the Huskers play host to Iowa on Nov. 27.
“I get a letter about every week from both schools just telling me how they like my aggressiveness and athleticism,” he said.
Kallenberger said he’s also hearing from Notre Dame, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Northern Iowa.
“I have visited Wisconsin but none of the others. I might visit those other schools but it won’t happen during the rest of the season,” he said.
Kallenberger won’t rush through his recruitment. He’s not able to sign a letter of intent until February of ’17 so there’s time to find the right fit.
“I am taking my recruitment slow because I really just want to enjoy these visits and have a fun time before picking which college I like the best,” he said. “The most important part to picking a school for me is the campus, coaching, and their program. If a school puts more kids into the NFL, then I will be more attracted to that school.”