IOWA CITY, Iowa – The top football recruit in Iowa has decided to stay in his home state to attend college.
West Des Moines Dowling defensive end John Waggoner announced on Twitter on Tuesday that he had committed to Iowa.
"I think it means a great deal to him," West Des Moines Dowling head coach Tom Wilson said. "His mom, I know, went to Iowa and he’s grown up watching the Hawks. Iowa State was the first to offer and Iowa was the second. He got a chance to be around a lot of great people in this process and in the end he felt that Iowa was the best for him.
"It may have taken a while to get to this conclusion but he’s here and I talked to him just a little while ago and he couldn’t be happier. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen him smile this much in his life. I’m sure it’s a relief and I’m sure he’s going to make a good college player."
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound senior picked the Hawkeyes over a long list of scholarship offers from Power 5 schools that include, Ohio State, Penn State, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Louisiana State, UCLA, Minnesota and Michigan State among others.
Wilson gave Waggoner's parents credit for allowing him to explore all of his options.
"I think his parents did a tremendous job last spring getting John into some different places," Wilson said. "They went out and saw Ohio State, they went down to Florida. They saw some of the different places that were recruiting him. At the end of the day he ends up focusing on his senior year and then obviously it’s hurry up mode from there. He decided that Iowa was the best fit for him and his family and he couldn’t be more excited."
Waggoner was a key player on each of Dowling’s last two Class 4A state champion teams as a defensive end. He also played tight end for the Maroons, who have won five consecutive Class 4A state titles.
Waggoner is the 15th player to commit to Iowa’s 2018 recruiting class. He is expected to sign a national letter of intent during the new early signing period later this month.
Waggoner met with Iowa defensive line coach Reese Morgan on Tuesday at Dowling and then committed shortly after their meeting.
Wilson also gave credit to Morgan for building a relationship with Waggoner that extends beyond football.
"Reese is one of the best," Wilson said. "I think for us coaches int he state of Iowa he has walked in our shoes. He obviously was a successful high school coach and has developed relationships from border to border in our state with the coaches. I think with Reese, he’s very sincere. It isn’t all about football and all of that all the time. I think he builds a relationship with the kids. At the end of the day, the kids trust him a lot."
Waggoner will join an Iowa team that is well-stocked on the defensive line with the top four defensive ends returning, along with starting defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore.