By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The Nick Saban-led Alabama football team rarely loses on the field, or in recruiting.
But it happened on Thursday as Southeast Polk five-star offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor announced his commitment to Iowa on Twitter.
The 6-foot-8, 331-pound Proctor had recently trimmed his list to Iowa and Alabama after having received a long list of scholarship offers.
He then cancelled recruiting trips to Oregon, Penn State and Michigan before taking an official visit to Iowa this past weekend.
Proctor at one time hadn’t planned on taking an official visit to Iowa because he had been to Iowa City numerous times on unofficial visits.
But then he changed his mind and decided to choose between Iowa and Alabama, which has won six national championships under Saban.
Iowa certainly doesn’t compare with Alabama from a winning and tradition standpoint.
But the Hawkeyes, under veteran head coach Kirk Ferentz, had some factors working to their advantage with Proctor, including being close to home, and having a long-standing tradition of developing star offensive linemen.
It also helped Iowa that Proctor’s close friend and former high school teammate, defensive back Xavier Nwankpa, signed with Iowa’s 2022 recruiting class and enrolled at the University of Iowa in January.
Nwankpa was also a five-star recruit as a senior and considered the top safety in the 2022 class.
“I think that had everything to do with it, getting Xavier from the same high school,” said veteran recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who ranks Proctor the top offensive lineman in the country. “I stopped by the school twice and those two I could tell were very close to each other.”
Saban’s track record at Alabama is highly impressive, how he so often gets the recruits on his wish list.
But in Proctor’s case, Iowa just had too many built-in advantages, or so it would seem.
“To me, it would have been a surprise if he didn’t go to Iowa,” Lemming said. “At Alabama, fans now are spoiled because Nick Saban is doing so well that they think they can’t get almost everybody that Alabama offers, which they do. They hit on more guys than I’ve ever seen in the 43 years I’ve been doing this.”
Proctor’s commitment comes just three days after four-star offensive lineman Trevor Lauck, who is from Indianapolis, committed to Iowa.
Proctor is the 14th player to commit to Iowa’s 2023 recruiting class and the first five-star prospect to join the class.