By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Rick Heller was excited about Addison Ostrenga’s potential as an outfielder in baseball, and was looking forward to coaching him in college.
But Heller also understands Ostrenga’s decision to play football at Iowa rather than baseball.
Ostrenga announced Friday afternoon on Twitter that he will play football exclusively at Iowa after having recently been offered a full-ride scholarship.
Ostrenga, who is from Sun Prairie, Wis., had previously committed to play baseball for the Hawkeyes. But the scholarship offer in football, and the opportunity to be an Iowa tight end, was just too good to pass up.
“There again is another super talented kid that fits into our mold with the tight end position that I think will evolve,” Heller said Friday morning during a telephone interview. “He is just like the rest of those guys, so that might be the best decision for him.”
Iowa football has a reputation for developing standout tight ends, with some of them having been unheralded recruits coming out of high school.
Iowa is the only school to offer the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Ostrenga a scholarship for football, according to Rivals.
Heller said there are no feelings from losing Ostrenga to football.
Heller said his staff works closely with the Hawkeye football coaches when it becomes apparent that both programs are recruiting the same prospect.
“We work together on it and we just communicate,” said Heller , who has coached the Iowa baseball team since 2014. “Because we’re in there usually a little earlier with how baseball recruiting goes. So if we get in on a guy and we know he’s getting football attention, more than likely our crew already knows that. But we cross check. We’ll send a note over, or we’ll give a call and say, ‘hey, heads up, we’re on this guy and we’re hearing he’s a pretty good football player.
“They’ll be like, yeah, we like him. Well, now we’re probably not going to move. And they’ll do the same with us. If they’re in on a baseball guy, we’ll get a call, ‘hey, are you guys aware of this guy? And that type of thing? So it’s some real good teamwork where we work together as a team and it’s worked out great.”
Ostrenga is the eighth member of the 2022 senior class to commit to Iowa for football, and the first tight end to commit to the class.
The Iowa football coaches are prohibited under NCAA rules from commenting on Ostrenga until he signs a national letter of intent.