What’s up with Iowa football and men’s basketball recruiting? Here are seven questions that address those topics
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Even though Tyler Devine is the undisputed recruiting guru for AllHawkeyes, I still get asked about recruiting and still have a passion for it.
Fans always want to know about the future because the future always brings hope and intrigue, and it all starts with recruiting.
So here are seven questions that I’ve been asked recently about Iowa football and men’s basketball recruiting followed by my attempt to answer.
1. Question: Do you like Iowa’s chances to land 2019 four-star quarterback Max Duggan from Council Bluffs?
Answer: Hawkeye fans won’t like this answer, but I’m taking the field in this case because the field includes so many attractive scholarship offers. Iowa will likely be in it until the end, but my pick is either Notre Dame, Nebraska, Minnesota or Texas Christian based mostly on what I’m hearing. I forgot to mention TCU at first, but was reminded shortly after posting the story that the Horned Frogs are a serious contender for Duggan.
It’s also reasonable to think that Nebraska helped its cause to land Duggan by hiring Scott Frost as head coach due to his success at Central Florida and because he used to play quarterback. Duggan also lives about one hour from the Nebraska campus, so it would be easy and conveninent for his family to watch him play.
But I keep hearing that Minnesota could be the team to beat because Duggan likes head coach P.J. Fleck and the offense that Fleck uses. Some are saying that it could ultimately come down to the Gophers and TCU.
2. Q: Is Iowa’s recent recruiting success in Indianapolis a temporary thing or the start of a pipeline?
A: It still is too early to tell, but the fact that four-star receiver David Bell is interested in Iowa despite all of his elite offers is certainly a good sign.
Iowa signed three of the top recruits from the Indianapolis area in the 2018 recruiting class and that seems to have caught Bell’s attention.
The Indianapolis native recently took an unofficial visit to Iowa and raved about the experience. Bell also did interviews with multiple news outlets, which is always a good sign because it shows a sincere interest.
“My first few visits to Iowa were just see the building, which is nice and all,” Bell said. “This time I got to spend time with the players a little. which was extremely fun.
“(Iowa) is at the top of my list.”
That could change with all of the traditional powers that are recruiting Bell, but Iowa appears to have a legitimate shot in this case.
3. Q: Will anybody besides Brady Ellingson and Ahmad Wagner leave the Iowa men’s basketball team, and how could that affect recruiting?
A: I’ll predict that 6-5 shooting guard Isaiah Moss returns for his junior season, but that 6-9 forward Tyler Cook will move on to play professionally.
That would make three scholarships available this spring with one likely given to redshirt freshman guard Connor McCaffery and another being held for next season.
As for the third scholarship should it become available, using it on a graduate transfer guard makes the most sense under the circumstances. So in that case, remember the name Matt Mooney from the University of South Dakota where he averaged 18 points in each of the past two season and excelled as a defender.
The 6-foot-3 Mooney announced on Twitter on Thursday his plan to explore other options as a graduate student. A native of Wauconda, Ill., Mooney would fit nicely into Iowa’s backcourt, and maybe his ability to defend would rub off on some of the current Iowa players.
4. Q: What position will best fit Iowa basketball recruit Joe Wieskamp in college?
A: The 6-6 Wieskamp is talented and big enough to play both small forward and shooting guard in college, but I like him more at small forward. He is a better scorer at this stage than ball handler, and to have a small forward with his shooting range and versatility would give Iowa the ability to stretch defenses at a position where that rarely is the case.
5. Q: Which player in the Iowa football’s team’s 2018 recruiting class stands out as the ultimate sleeper recruit?
A: That’s hard to answer because the class has several recruits who fit that description.
But if I had to pick just one, it would be defensive back Kaevon Merriweather from Bellevile, Mich. He was one of the final pieces to the class and his highlight tape is spectacular, although, I’m referring to his highlight tape for basketball were he plays above the rim despite being just 6-2 and weighing 195 pounds.
Merriweather made second-team all-conference as a junior in football and had no other power 5 scholarship offers for football. Iowa recruited him as a defensive back, but his frame looks big enough to support the body of a linebacker.
Iowa has a long and distinguished history of turning unheralded sleeper recruits into stars under Kirk Ferentz.
That doesn’t mean Merriweather will add to that history, but he certainly looks the part.
Defensive back Terry Roberts from Erie, Pa., would be my second choice.
6. Q: Where does Iowa stand with 2019 Bettendorf point guard D.J. Carton?
A: Fran McCaffery and the Hawkeyes are definitely in the mix, but to say that Iowa is the favorite at this stage would be a stretch. Carton's stock continues to rise, and with that will come more scholarship offers. What might be fact today could change by tomorrow because recruiting is so fluid and unpredictable.
It could help Iowa that Carton lives barely one hour from campus and that his grandfather played basketball for the Hawkeyes.
But a lot will depend on which schools ultimately make him an offer.
7. Q: Will Iowa be able to withstand all of the blue-blood programs that are likely to offer a scholarship to 6-10 Oskaloosa sophomore Xavier Foster?
A: Probably not if Iowa continues to struggle. There is reason to think this past 14-19 season was only a temporary setback, but time will tell. It would be hard enough to land Foster under good circumstances, but to convince him to join a struggling program might be close to impossible.
So it's time for Iowa to start winning again.