IOWA CITY (AP) — Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz built his program on finding unheralded players with versatility, strong leadership skills and plenty of room to develop.
The Hawkeyes brought in another recruiting class that looks like a classic Ferentz haul.
“A big part of (being offered) is their attitude, their work ethic, their wanting to be team-first type players,” Ferentz said during Wednesday’s press conference. “Then beyond that just the amount of pride that they display in terms of what they do, how they act, how they conduct themselves, and certainly the level of character.”
Iowa signed 24 players who all seem to have a similar profile. Nearly all are considered three-star recruits, and most grew up in the Midwest.
“We try to learn from our players year by year, look at the guys that have had success in our program,” Ferentz said. “Maybe guys that haven’t had as much success, and try to determine what it is, what are the commonalities of players that have been successful with us.”
Such an approach might not work at other places. But Iowa won 12 games and reached the Rose Bowl last season using a template that helped turned the likes of Desmond King, Giltner graduate Drew Ott, quarterback C.J. Beathard and others into standout Big Ten players.
“You take a guy like Drew Ott from eight-man football that wasn’t highly recruited,” Ferentz said. “Desmond King, two guys on defense that maybe weren’t highly recruited really that have played at a high level in our program.”
King has been a major factor for the Hawkeyes on the recruiting front. This year’s Jim Thorpe winner will have three fellow Detroit natives as teammates heading into his final season: offensive tackle Alaric Jackson, and defensive ends Cedrick Lattimore and Chauncey Golston. Cornerback Cedric Boswell will also head to Iowa from Michigan.
“I don’t think there’s any question about that,” Ferentz said of King’s recruiting impact. “Two of the young men are from his high school, so that certainly didn’t hurt us at all. Desmond has done a wonderful job.”
Many of the future Hawkeyes have positions that remain undetermined. Having incoming players with versatile roles is an option Ferentz targets.
“We’re looking at guys that we think have the versatility, the growth potential, et cetera, and a lot of that’ll be determined probably how things go this spring,” Ferentz said. “I think most of the guys coming in just have good attitudes. They want to help any way they possibly can.”
» DB commit Amani Hooker earned first-team all-state honors as a senior and was a finalist for Minnesota “Mr. Football.”
» DB commit Cedric Boswell holds the school record at Wylie E. Groves with 334 rushing yards in a game.
» QB commit Nathan Stanley holds school records for passing yards (3,674) and career touchdowns (36).
» Former Omaha South standout Noah Fant owns school records for receptions and touchdowns in a season and a career.
» Two recruits from Michigan hold school records for sacks in a season. OL commit Alaric Jackson set the record at Renaissance, and DE commit Cedrick Lattimore set the mark at East English Village Prep with 17.
Toks Akrinribade, RB, 6-0, 205, Brownsburg (Ind.)
Cole Banwart, OL, 6-4, 280, Algona (Iowa)
Shaun Beyer, TE, 6-5, 210, Cedar Rapids Kennedy (Iowa)
Lance Billings, DB, 6-0, 176, Clearview (Ohio)
Cedric Boswell, DB, 5-11, 175, Wylie E. Groves (Mich.)
Noah Fant, TE, 6-5, 220, Omaha South
Chauncey Golston, DE, 6-5, 227, East English Village Prep (Mich.)
T.J. Hockenson, TE, 6-5, 230, Chariton (Iowa)
Amani Hooker, DB, 6-0, 203, Park Center (Minn.)
Alaric Jackson, OL, 6-7, 285, Renaissance (Mich.)
Amani Jones, LB, 6-0, 215, Phillips Academy (Ill.)
Cedrick Lattimore, DE, 6-5, 260, East English Village Prep
Romeo McKnight, DE, 6-5, 235, Crystal Lake Central (Ill.)
Nick Niemann, LB, 6-4, 220, Sycamore (Ill.)
Emmanuel Rugamba, DB, 6-0, 172, Naperville Central (Ill.)
Austin Schulte, DE, 6-4, 250, Pella (Iowa)
Brandon Simon, DE, 6-1, 236, Don Bosco Prep (N.J.)
Nathan Stanley, QB, 6-5, 212, Menomonie (Wis.)
Kyle Taylor, LB, 6-2, 220, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.)
Barrington Wade, LB, 6-1, 210, Niles North (Ill.)
Kristian Welch, LB, 6-3, 220, Iola-Scandinavia (Wis.)
Spencer Williams, OL, 6-3, 290, Cedar Falls (Iowa)
Devonte Young, WR, 6-0, 195, North Point (Md.)
Toren Young, RB, 5-11, 220, Monona Grove (Wis.)
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