COUNCIL BLUFFS — Iowa Western may not have the star power of last year, but that hasn’t kept the college scouts away.
The No. 3 Reivers have 15 players with scholarship offers from FBS or FCS schools with two weeks remaining in the regular season. And that number is bound to grow in the coming weeks.
The interest in offensive tackles Larry Mazyck and Sebastian Tretola, assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator Mike Strohmeier said, has led to opportunities at the next level for teammates.
Iowa Western is on pace to challenge the 15 players it sent to FBS schools from its 2012 championship squad.
“Prior to the season, I didn’t think it was going to be as much,” Strohmeier said. “(With) our two tackles, they’re big kids and they play a need position, it’s bringing some schools through and getting (us) a lot of interest. We have 11 kids with D-I offers, which is more than I was expecting.”
Maryland recruit Mazyck (6-foot-7, 340 pounds) and Nevada transfer Tretola (6-5, 315), who has offers from Oklahoma and Texas Tech among others, headline an offensive line that is being heavily recruited this year. Guard DeAndre Herron has already committed to Indiana, and center Travis Zimmerman has nine FCS or FBS scholarship offers, the most of any player on the team.
Receiver Geronimo Allison and safety Jamie Byrd, a TCU transfer, have verbally committed to sign with Illinois and Arizona, respectively. Defensive tackle Max Martial, linebackers Cody Poock and Ryan Langford, and running back Akise Teague also have offers from FBS schools.
And Kentucky transfer Marcus Caffey, a cornerback listed at 6-0 and 190, has been offered by West Virginia, Georgia State and Akron, though he didn’t make the Reivers’ active roster. Dan Henry and David Jenkins, Iowa Western’s starting corners, have received no offers to date.
Strohmeier said both are among a group of players he expects will garner attention in the upcoming weeks. Quarterbacks Connor Bravard and Tay Bender, defensive tackles Ashton Henderson and Marco Naughton, and guard Kato Fawkes are others, he said.
Troy has watched Bravard at practice and New Mexico is scheduled to see Bender play Saturday.
“Numerous other schools have contacted about them,” Strohmeier said.
More than 20 schools have visited the Iowa Western campus or have scouted a Reiver game this fall, he said. Many coaches, including Barney Cotton of Nebraska, have stopped by during recent bye weeks.
Strohmeier said current players without offers as of now have nothing to worry about.
“They shouldn’t be concerned,” he said. “Anyone that is deserving of an offer will get one.”
But those offers may come late. Jake Waters, who quarterbacked Iowa Western to the national title last year, wasn’t heavily recruited early. And his older brother, Matt, and teammate Ty Branz landed at Ohio University in the final week of the recruiting period two years ago.
That 2011 class, Strohmeier said, established IWCC as a hotbed for junior college transfers.
“I think that’s catapulted us to where (coaches) are going to come here regardless of our level of talent,” he said. “The years past have really helped out our present roster.”
Strohmeier said another plus is the academic standing of many of Iowa Western’s would-be transfers.
“We recruit qualifiers,” he said. “When you have qualifiers that can leave in December, that really helps out.”
This year’s Reivers may also benefit from their team’s regular season ending earlier. With no playoffs scheduled in the Midwest Football Conference this fall, IWCC’s last game will be next Saturday.
That would give the players more than a month to go on official visits, Strohmeier said, before Iowa Western plays in an NJCAA bowl game. It will also give other coaches a chance to visit campus.
“Our traffic is going to increase,” Strohmeier said. “And it’ll probably increase up until after the bowl game.”