By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Due to the changing landscape, national signing day in college football doesn’t seem to matter as much anymore.
The recruiting beat is now covered so extensively, and in some cases, obsessively, that there is very little build-up or anticipation these days.
Signing day used to be an unveiling, and a chance to exhale after a mad rush to the finish line.
But now it’s just a day in which everything that fans already knew becomes official.
The Iowa football team signed 21 players on Wednesday, and all but one of them had been committed for months, and each of their recruitments had been well documented by multiple news outlets and recruiting services.
The one exception is 19-year-old Australian punter Rhys Dakin, who committed just this past Sunday.
Iowa also added eight preferred walk-ons to the class, including linebacker Devan Van Ness, who is younger brother of former Iowa defensive lineman and 2023 NFL first-round draft pick Luka Van Ness, who now plays for the Green Bay Packers.
The first Wednesday in February used to be college football’s version of Christmas as it marked the start of the much-anticipated traditional signing period.
It has since been reduced to sort of an afterthought with the addition of the early signing period in December.
What hasn’t changed much, however, is the kind of class that Iowa assembles under veteran head coach Kirk Ferentz.
The 2024 class is typical in many ways in that it has a strong instate representation, along with multiple players from the Midwest.
There are no five-star recruits in the class, but there are five four-star prospects in the class according to the rankings by On3sports. That includes Cedar Falls edge rusher Drew Campbell, who is the younger brother of former Iowa All-America linebacker Jack Campbell, who now plays for the Detroit Lions.
The class is ranked eighth in the Big Ten by On3sports, and 27th nationally.
The class has four offensive linemen, two tight ends and one quarterback, Florida native James Resar.
Rock Rapids native Reece Vander Zee and Illinois native K.J. Parker are the only receivers in the class, and while that could be reason for concern, given how much Iowa has struggled at that position, it also could mean that Iowa will hit the portal for receivers.
Quarterbacks always draw a lot of attention in recruiting, and that is certainly the case with Resar, who committed to Iowa in September 2022, picking the Hawkeyes over scholarships offers from Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Indiana.
It was big news back when Resar committed, but more than a year has passed since he pledged to the Hawkeyes.
It isn’t often that Iowa signs a quarterback from the Sunshine State, but what really makes the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Resar standout is his sprinter’s speed.
He is clearly more than just a pocket passer as he has a personal best time of 10.67 seconds in the 100-meter dash.
That would be fast for a running back, let alone a quarterback.
Tyler Barnes, Iowa’s Director of Recruiting, held a zoom conference with the media on Wednesday and said that he expect Resar to go sub 10.5 seconds in the 100 this spring.
Iowa fans have been clamoring for Kirk Ferentz to recruit faster and more mobile quarterbacks, and the head Hawk apparently has listened to that plea.
Resar also averaged more than seven yards per carry this past season, and he did so while facing top-notch competition in Florida.
And though he is listed as a pro-style quarterback by most recruiting services, and has the size and frame of a pro-style quarterback, Resar’s speed would suggest that he has dual-threat capabilities.
Whether he gets to plays like a dual-threat quarterback will depend on how Iowa plans to use him.
But Resar should be able to at least move the pocket, which fans want to see from Iowa quarterbacks.
The Iowa offense has struggled in each of the past two seasons, and a lack of mobility at quarterback has been part of the problem.
Iowa, which will face Tennessee in the Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day in Orlando, Florida, lost Joey Labas to the transfer portal, but will add Resar for the 2024 season.
Assuming no other Hawkeye quarterbacks enter the portal, Resar will join Cade McNamara, Deacon Hill and Marco Lainez as quarterbacks on scholarship next season.
Iowa also has freshman Tommy Poholsky as a preferred walk-on quarterback, and recently received a commitment from 2025 quarterback Jimmy Sullivan, who is from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Sullivan also reportedly has good speed, so perhaps a shift is underway with the kind of quarterback that Iowa recruits.
C.J. Beathard is the last Iowa quarterback to earn All-Big Ten honors, making second-team in 2015 when he led Iowa to a 12-2 record.
He is also the last Iowa quarterback that could make plays as a runner.
Beathard, who now plays for the Jacksonville Jaguars, isn’t a dual-threat quarterback, but he can move the pocket and make defenders miss.
Iowa fans would be ecstatic if Resar could do the same.
Iowa’s 2024 recruiting class
Joseph Anderson DE 6-5 225 Fr. St. Louis, Mo. Westminster Christian Academy
Cam Buffingon LB 6-3 225 Fr. Winfield, Iowa Winfield-Mt. Union
Michael Burt TE 6-6 225 Fr. Omaha, Neb. Creighton Prep
Drew Campbell DE 6-4 235 Fr. Cedar Falls, Iowa Cedar Falls
Chima Chineke DE 6-5 230 Fr. Plano, Texas Plano East
Rhys Dakin P 6-3 210 Fr. Melbourne, Australia Mazenod College
Brevin Doll RB 6-0 190 Fr. Adel, Iowa ADM
Cody Fox OL 6-4 280 Fr. Winthrop, Iowa East Buchanan
Rashad Godfrey Jr. DB 6-1 180 Fr. Plant City, Fla. Armwood
Gavin Hoffman TE 6-5 215 Fr. Leawood, Kan. Blue Valley Northwest
Josh Janowski OL 6-2 280 Fr. Frankfort, Ill. Lincoln Way East
Devan Kennedy DT 6-3 240 Fr. Glendale, Ariz. Brophy College Preparatory
Bodey McCaslin OL 6-6 275 Fr. St. Charles, Ill. East
Will Nolan OL 6-6 290 Fr. Arlington Heights, Ill. Hersey
KJ Parker WR 6-0 170 Fr. Bellwood, Ill. Immaculate Conception
James Resar QB 6-4 205 Fr. Fernandina Beach Fla. Bishop Kenny
Preston Ries LB 6-2 215 Fr. Monticello, Iowa Monticello
Reece Vander Zee WR 6-4 190 Fr. Rock Rapids, Iowa Central Lyon/GLR
Jaylen Watson DB 6-0 170 Fr. Toledo, Ohio Central Catholic
Derek Weisskopf LB 6-3 210 Fr. Victor, Iowa Williamsburg
Xavier Williams RB 6-0 230 Fr. Schererville Ind. Lake Central
Trent Cakerice, DT, Grundy Center
Graham Eben, OLB, Central Lyon
Kyler Gerardy, S, North Scott High
Grant Glausser, RB, Western Dubuque
Drew Larson, S, Iowa City High
Cole Marsh, TE, Waverly Shell-Rock
Devan Van Ness, ILB, Barrington, Illinois
Trippy Woody, K, Charlotte Christian, North Carolina