By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – A running back from Georgia and a quarterback from Texas, who is only entering his junior year of high school, are the latest recruits to commit to the Iowa football team.
Georgia running back Tyler Goodson announced his commitment to Iowa via Twitter on Tuesday and just four days after 2020 Texas quarterback Deuce Hogan had announced for the Hawkeyes.
Goodson is the third player from Georgia to pick Iowa since 2017, joining defensive back Trey Creamer and linebacker and high school teammate Jayden McDonald, while Hogan is the second quarterback from Texas to pick in less than two years, the first being Peyton Mansell, who was redshirted as a true freshman last season.
Iowa also had a quarterback from California (Spencer Petras) in its 2018 recruiting class and recently added a quarterback from Colorado (Alex Padilla) to its 2019 class.
Georgia, California and Colorado are three states where Iowa rarely has recruited under Kirk Ferentz, whereas Texas has been both hot and cold as a recruiting territory.
The recent addition of Alabama native Derrick Foster to the Iowa coaching staff appears to have tapped into a new recruiting pipeline to the southeast where he grew up and has connections.
But there also are signs that Ferentz is allowing the search for talent to broaden, and is more willing to recruit in places where he wasn’t before, places like California for example.
Iowa signed a few recruits from California during the early stages under Ferentz, including high school teammates Edgar Cervantes and Ramon Ochoa, both of whom were part of Ferentz’s first recruiting class in 1999.
Iowa also signed quarterback Nathan Chandler in 2002 after he had attended junior college in California for two years.
But for the most part, California has been passed over by the Iowa coaches until recently, and likewise for Colorado and Georgia.
So perhaps what we’re seeing is Ferentz’s version of New Kirk the recruiter.
Iowa will always recruit extensively in the Midwest for lots of reasons, including proximity and money, but the reluctance to recruit in areas that aren’t convenient or known for producing Hawkeye recruits appears to have softened.
Iowa’s recruiting seems far less predictable than before and has fewer boundaries.
This isn’t to say that every stone is being turned over during the recruiting process, but the Hawkeye brand seems to be expanding as Ferentz approaches his 63rd birthday on August. 1.
Ferentz showed some reluctance to recruit in Georgia, particularly the Atlanta area, when asked about it on national signing day. He mentioned that Iowa tried to recruit star running back Bradley Chubb out of Georgia, but was unsuccessful.
“I’m still wrestling with the Atlanta, the Georgia [area]; the quality of football down there is great, not unlike Ohio,” Ferentz said. “Bradley Chubb was a guy that was on our list. Never made a trip here. The key is can you get them on campus? That’s the key. Anytime you go further away [getting the players on campus becomes a concern]. That’s something we’re going to talk about in the weeks ahead.”
Those conversations have since been held and it now seems apparent that Ferentz is willing to keep recruit in Georgia.
It would be easy to recruit somebody from an unfamiliar territory who doesn’t have many scholarship offers, but that certainly isn’t the case with the 5-foot-11, 192-pound Tyler Goodson.
He picked Iowa over a long and distinguished list of scholarship offers from schools that include Michigan State, Nebraska, Iowa State, Kentucky, Kansas State, Indiana, Colorado, Boston College, Washington State and Wake Forest among others.
Goodson narrowed his list to Iowa, Wake Forest and West Virginia before picking the Hawkeyes.
He told HawkeyeReport.com that the Iowa football program’s connection to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital was a key factor in his decision.
Goodson supports an organization called Happy Feat, which helps to create friendships and inclusion for young people with disabilities in his community.
“If you follow me on social media, you know that an organization close to my heart is Happy Feat, so when I learned about the relationship with the University of Iowa and the Children’s Hospital, I immediately connected with that,” Goodson said.
There is no guarantee that any of the recruits from Georgia will be a success at Iowa, but they inspire confidence on paper.
Georgia is loaded with Division I talent, enough to where the supply surpasses the demand from a local standpoint.
The University of Georgia is enjoying a resurgence in football as the national runner-up, but not every kid in Georgia can be a Bulldog because there just aren't enough scholarships.
So recruits such as Goodson look elsewhere and that's how a kid from Suwanee, Ga., becomes a Hawkeye.
Hogan reportedly picked Iowa over at least nine other scholarship offers from Baylor, Boston College, Colorado, Houston, Iowa State, Louisiana Tech, Oklahoma State, Syracuse and Tulsa. He reportedly made unofficial visits to Tulsa, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Iowa and Baylor before making a decision.
His commitment marks the earliest that a quarterback has committed to Iowa under Ferentz.
Kirk Ferentz has been criticized at times for being too conservative, too stubborn and too old-fashioned while leading the Hawkeyes.
Ferentz is more about substance than style, and sometimes that makes him seem kind of boring or predictable as a recruiter.
But Ferentz is also the longest-tenured head coach in college football and you don’t achieve that status without being flexible and willing to change with the times.
Iowa’s most recent verbal commitment from a Georgia running back shows that Ferentz is willing to change.