A look at the 2022 football recruiting class around the Big Ten
Iowa one of seven Big Ten schools with one or fewer verbal commitments in class
By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – At this time last year, the Iowa football team already had seven players committed to its 2021 recruiting class.
Iowa currently has one player verbally committed to its 2022 class in Aaron Graves, a four-star defensive end according to Rivals.com.
Graves, a native of Gowrie, Iowa, has been committed to Iowa since June 2019.
But Iowa is not the only Big Ten team that has yet to gain momentum in the 2022 class.
Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin all have one player verbally committed in the class, while Indiana, Nebraska and Northwestern all have yet to receive a verbal pledge.
All other Big Ten teams have at least two players verbally committed to the class, including Ohio State with 10 and Penn State with seven.
The NCAA’s extended dead period caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is certainly a major factor.
Right now, the dead period, which prohibits in-person contact between coaches and recruits, is set to expire April 15.
However, the NCAA Football Oversight Committee announced recently that it has recommended extending the dead period through at least May 31.
Three-star 2022 linebacker Ernest Hausmann, who recently received a scholarship offer from Iowa, said he hopes the dead period ends soon but also has considered the possibility of committing to a school that he has never been able to visit in person.
The Columbus, Neb., native also said that the dead period also has forced him to be more proactive in contacting schools.
“It’s affected it,” Hausmann said on Feb. 5. “But to me, I believe a lot of things happen for a reason. I wouldn’t be in this moment if it wasn’t for the man upstairs. I have a lot of faith that he’ll lead me in the right direction. Everything sucks in this pandemic. It was hard on a lot of things, but during this year I knew I had to go out and perform each and every night like it was my last because I wasn’t sure when the season was going to end, if I was going to be able to play the rest of the games.
“Through this recruiting process, you just have to reach out more. Coming from a small town in Columbus, you’re not going to get a lot of publicity out here. I like to have the game speak for itself. So, when people started realizing what I could do I just knew it was going to be a matter of time before people started contacting me and I was able to start reaching out to more (schools).”
Iowa does potentially have something working against it was that other Big Ten schools do not.
In June 2020, several former players came forward with accusations of racial bias within the program, most of which centered around former strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle.
Doyle was recently hired by the Jacksonville Jaguars as director of sports performance but resigned days later after public backlash.
While it is difficult to gauge the effects of these accusations on the recruiting trail, Rivals.com recruiting expert Josh Helmholdt told HawkFanatic in January that he believes the events of last summer will have an impact on Iowa’s ability to recruit.
“Definitely I think the situation that happened in the offseason negatively affected Iowa from a recruiting standpoint,” Helmholdt said. “They have some trust to rebuild, and that’s not going to happen overnight. I expect it will continue to be a recruiting hurdle for them, though one they can overcome as time from the situation elapses.”
Here is a list of the number of commitments by each Big Ten school:
Ohio State – 10
Penn State – 7
Rutgers – 6
Michigan – 5
Maryland – 4
Michigan State – 3
Purdue – 2
Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin – 1
Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern – 0