IOWA CITY, Iowa – Indiana native Leighton Jones needed less than a week to decide that he wanted to be an Iowa offensive lineman.
Jones announced his commitment to Iowa Saturday on social media.
He was offered a scholarship just this past Monday.
“It was a no brainer, once I first stepped on campus it felt like home,” Jones told 247Sports. “The tradition of the program and just the way they operated spoke a lot into existence. The coaching staff starting with Ferentz being the coach for 20-plus years along with his contract extension through the 2029 season was a big boost as well. Coach Bell and Coach Barnett were also main factors being transparent and 100 percent honest throughout the process.”
Jones is drawing comparisons to former Iowa All-America center Tyler Linderbaum due to Jones being an accomplished wrestler and a defensive lineman in football.
Linderbaum also excelled as a high school wrestler and was recruited to Iowa as a defensive lineman.
But he switched to center near the end of his true freshman season in 2018, and would go on to become arguably the greatest center in program history.
Linderbaum declared for the 2022 NFL Draft and is projected as a first-round pick as a fourth-year junior.
Jones, meanwhile, is listed at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds, and is ranked as a 3-star recruit by Rivals.
Jones is the sixth player to commit to Iowa’s 2023 recruiting class.
The others are Marion receiver Alex Mota, New Jersey quarterback Marco Lainez, Colorado defensive end Chase Brackney, Iowa City High linebacker Ben Kueter and Norwalk defensive lineman Maddux Borcherding, Johnson.
Lainez is ranked as a 4-star recruit by Rivals, while the other five players committed to Iowa’s 2023 class are ranked as 3-star prospects.
Iowa’s 2023 recruiting class is now ranked 11th nationally by Rivals, although, it’s still very early in the recruiting process and the rankings are fluid to say the least.
Iowa is among five Big Ten teams ranked in the the top 11 by Rivals with Penn State at No. 5, Ohio State at No. 7, Michigan State at No. 9 and Michigan at No. 10.