Iowa lands explosive 2024 receiver from Illinois
KJ Parker had over 1,000 receiving yards as a junior last season
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – It’s no secret that the Iowa football team needs help at receiver, and help will be coming from one of the top 2024 prospects in Illinois.
Receiver KJ Parker, who attends Immaculate Conception in Elmhurst, Illinois, announced his commitment to Iowa on Thursday via Twitter.
Parker is the 16th player to commit to Iowa’s 2024 recruiting class and the second receiver, joining Central Lyon standout Reece Vander Zee, who committed this past Tuesday.
Parker picked Iowa over scholarship offers from Iowa State, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Marshall, Northern Illinois, Ohio, Old Dominion, Toledo, Western Michigan and Wisconsin.
He finished his junior season with 37 receptions for 1,082 yards and 17 touchdowns, while leading his team to a 13-1 record.
In addition to earning first-team all-state recognition, the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Parker also has earned the respect of veteran recruiting analyst Tom Lemming, who lives near Chicago and has closely evaluated Parker.
“A great athlete, he catches everything, He’s an exciting ball player,” Lemming said Thursday in a telephone interview. “He’s got the potential to become a game breaker. It’s a good catch for them.
“They’re doing well in Chicago. And whenever Iowa does well in Chicago, they do well on the field.”
Parker is the fourth player from the Chicago area to commit to Iowa’s 2024 class.
However, the other three all play on the offensive line.
So, to have landed one of the top receivers from Illinois is a major accomplishment for Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, whose offense only produced seven touchdown passes last season and finished ranked 130th out of 131 FBS teams in total offense.
“It’s really good, for one thing, just keeping the pipeline going because Chicago is loaded for the next two years,” Lemming said. “There’s, obviously, a lot more talent in Chicago than there is in the whole state of Iowa.
“You can get to Chicago quicker than you can the western part of the state. So, I think it makes sense for them and they have. Kirk Ferentz has always done well.”
And while Parker is ranked as a three-star recruit by some recruiting services, Lemming gives him four-plus stars.
“He’s an exciting athlete and production is a big thing for me,” Lemming said. “Not camps, but production.”
Iowa’s 2024 Iowa football commitments
KJ Parker, 5-11, 165, receiver, Elmhust, Illinois
Gavin Hoffman, 6-5, 195, tight end, Overland Park, Kansas
Reece Vander Zee, 6-5, 190, receiver, Rock Rapids, Iowa
Devan Kennedy, 6-3, 245, defensive end, Phoenix, Arizona
Michael Burt, 6-5, 230, tight end, Omaha, Nebraska
Will Nolan, 6-7, 270, offensive lineman, Arlington Heights, Illinois
Bodey McCaslin, 6-5, 270, offensive lineman, St. Charles, Illinois
Brevin Doll, 6-0, 185, running back, Ade-DeSoto
Xavier Williams, 6-0, 225, running back St. John, Indiana
Drew Campbell, 6-4, 225, defensive end, Cedar Falls
Cody Fox, 6-5, 270, offensive lineman, Winthrop (East Buchanan)
Derek Weisskopf, 6-3, 205, linebacker, Williamsburg
Cam Buffington, 6-3, 200, linebacker, Winfield-Mt. Union
Preston Ries, 6-2, 195, linebacker, Monticello
James Resar, 6-4, 204, quarterback, Jacksonville, Florida
Josh Janowski, 6-2, 275, offensive lineman, Tinley Park, Illinois