The Iowa football coaching staff includes four former Hawkeyes. It’s an aspect of the team standing out to 2023 Naples (FL) High running back Kendrick Raphael.
“Iowa has a program with coaches that have been there for years or have played there,” he told HF. “It reminds me of my school, a cultural thing that the guys who played there try to give back to the game for what it has done for them.”
Running back coach Ladell Betts is one of the former players on the Hawkeye staff. He’s leading the school’s recruitment of Raphael, who picked up an Iowa offer on Saturday.
“He loves what I bring to the game. He loves my vision and speed, but hopefully I get to show him more of what I bring,” Raphael said.
“Coach Betts is a great guy and reminds me of my running back coach here at Naples.”
Rivals ranks Raphael (5-11, 190) as a three-star prospect, the No. 19 running back nationally in ’23 and the No. 60 overall player in Florida for the cycle.
As a junior, Raphael rushed 126 times for 1,374 yards (10.9 yards per carry) and 18 touchdowns. Coastal Carolina, Iowa State, NC State, Pittsburgh, South Florida and Vanderbilt also have reportedly offered him scholarships.
“I would love to learn more about the campus and atmosphere Iowa brings on my future visit,” he said.
Raphael, who would like to be an orthodontist, knows what he wants in the school he chooses.
“The most important thing in looking for a college is to get the ultimate football experience as well as the education. Every football player’s goal is to make it to the league, so I want my football experience to help mold me to achieve my goal,” he said.