Recruiting Needs - Offense Edition

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I wrote about Iowa's recruiting needs for the defense last week. Since then, the need at linebacker has strengthened with the Jacody Coleman transfer, but the defense is still in good shape with 7 players already committing for the 2010 class. The offense, on the contrary, has but one lonely commit, QB/TE/Ath Austin Vier.

The Offensive Line

Current Situation:
5 Seniors - C Rafael Eubanks, OT Kyle Calloway*, OG Andy Kuempel, OG Dan Doering, OG Dace Richardson
4 Juniors - OG Julian Vandervelde**, C Josh Koeppel, OG Kyle Haganman, OT Bryan Bulaga
3 Sophomores - OT Markus Zusvics, OL Tyrel Detweiler, OG Adam Gettis
4 RS Freshman - C James Ferentz, OL Matt Tobin, OT Casey McMillan, OT Riley Reiff
4 Freshman - OG Drew Clark, OT Nolan MacMillan, OT Matt Murphy, OT Brett Van Sloten

This is a very veteran group along the offensive line. Of the projected starters for week 1, only one player, Markus Zusvics, is not an upper classman. And, once Kyle Calloway has done his time for the moped incident, that'll be one more senior starter. The good news, is that the Hawkeyes are very deep on the line. Once Vandervelde is back from his injury he should be a starter for this year and next. And hopefully Bulaga will stay for his senior season despite the high NFL draft projections he is receiving.

2010 Commits:
OT Brandon Scherff - Denison, IA

As I was writing this post, the announcement that Brandon Scherff is going to be a Hawkeye was divulged. So, I added him to the 2010 commits list. Though Scherff has played quarterback and tight end in high school put projects as an offensive tackle at 6'6" 300 pounds.

Notable Other Possibilities:
OT Andrew Donnal - Whitehouse, OH
OT Seantrel Henderson - Saint Paul, MN

The most likely on this list for Iowa to land is Andrew Donnal. Donnal has said that there is a 75% chance he will be a Hawkeye and favors Iowa heavily over any other school. The last name to follow is Seantrel Henderson. If you following recruiting at all, you've already heard of him. He's the number 1 player in all the land. He has been heavily recruited around the country but especially around the Midwest. Given Iowa's knack for developing lineman, there's definitely a chance.

Neediness:
Medium/High - 3 to 4 solid commits would be good and I fully expect we land them

There is a good distributions of players in each class (about 4 in each) and another 4 or so would be good for this class. Next year should be fine as long as Bulaga stays around and the years after that look okay too. With the Vandervelde injury and the Calloway suspension, that should help some of the younger guys get meaningful game experience as well. With Sherff on board and Donnal close, just 1 or 2 more guys would make this an excellent class.

Quarterback

Current Situation:
1 Junior - Ricky Stanzi
2 RS Freshman - John Winke, James Vandenberg
1 Freshman - Wyatt Suess

There are not a lot of QBs on the roster and none with backup experience. But the Hawkeyes are set at quarterback for the next 4 years barring injury. You don't need a crystal ball to predict that Ricky Stanzi will start this year and next, then the winner of the Winke/Vandenberg battle will start the next 2 years going out to 2012. Wyatt Suess is walking on the team this fall. He's a good athlete and is very open to switching positions.

2010 Commits:
QB/TE/Ath Austin Vier - Huxley, IA

Austin Vier will get his chance at QB when he arrives in Iowa City. He'll need to work on his passing ability his senior year of high school, though, if he wants to compete at Iowa. As a junior he completed just 48.3% of his passes and had twice as many interceptions as touchdowns. If he doesn't work out at QB he'll likely see time at tight end.

Notable Other Possibilities:
QB/Ath A.J. Derby - Iowa City, IA
QB Hutson Mason - Marietta, GA (high on iowa)

A.J. Derby is supposedly the next Tim Tebow...a big pass/run threat at QB. This hometown kid would be a good to get for Iowa, but it sounds like he is keeping his options open. Hutson Mason may be a more likely pickup by the Hawkeyes. Right now, Mason has a strong predilection for Iowa, and the Hawkeyes are at the top of his list. Mason would also be a great complement to the 2010 class. As a junior he completed 70% of his passes for 3,705 yards and 28 touchdowns.

Neediness:
Low/Medium - another QB would be nice to have

Though a quarterback likely wouldn't have a chance to start until his senior year, it would be good to get another commit in the 2010 class. Another multifaceted player that could switch positions, like Suess or Vier, would be ideal.

Running Back

Current Situation:
1 Senior - FB Bryce Griswold
3 Juniors - RB Jayme Murphy, RB Paki O'Meara, FB Brett Morse
2 Sophomores - RB Jewel Hampton***, FB Wade Leppert
2 RS Freshman - RB Jason White, RB Jeff Brinson
5 Freshman - RB Brandon Wegher, RB Adam Robinson, RB Jacob Reisen, FB Shane DiBona, RB Brad Rogers

Okay, I think I got everyone. The stable of backs is very young. There are 4 upper classman, but only the fullback, Brett Morse, is likely to start, though Paki may get some early reps. With all the true freshman, it's likely that most will redshirt. Brandon Wegher will definitely see time on special teams, and if Jewel's injury is bad, then Wegher could see some meaningful time in the backfield. Anyway, between Hampton, Brinson, and Wegher Iowa should be set a running back for a while. At fullback, Leppert also saw plenty of time last year and should be able to hold the starting spot after Morse graduates.

2010 Commits:
None

Notable Other Possibilities:
RB Andre Dawson - Cedar Rapids, IA
RB DeAndre Johnson -Miami, FL

Andre Dawson was teammates with Keenan Davis and Wyatt Suess. Hopefully those guys are pushing Dawson hard towards Iowa. He has scored 40 touchdowns in his career and still has his senior year to go. DeAndre Johnson has Iowa as his favorite right now. He averaged over 7 yards a carry last year and is starting to get offers from some bigger schools.

Neediness:
Low - 1 or 2 running backs is all we need and a fullback wouldn't hurt

There are plenty of young backs for the Hawkeyes right now, so there is not really an immediate need. However, we all know that having depth is important, especially at running back (see Iowa Football, 2005). I think given the large number of backs right now, as some of the young guys establish themselves we may see some movement to other positions. Adam Robinson has already tried out DB and Shane DiBona has been mentioned as a candidate for linebacker. This would leave some room for a very good back to come in and get some playing time in a couple of years.

Tight End

Current Situation:
2 Seniors - Kyle Spading, Tony Moeaki
2 Juniors - Allen Reisner, Tyler Gerstandt
2 Sophomores - Brad Herman, Zach Furlong
2 RS Freshman - J.D. Griggs, Jonathan Gimm
2 Freshman - Connor Boffeli, Dakota Getz

I thought the offensive line was really balanced, but look at tight end. It's 2 a year, every year. The main guys on the roster this year will be Tony Moeaki and Allen Reisner. Since Iowa likes their 3 TE sets more than probably any other team, it's likely Brad Herman or maybe J.D. Griggs will see time as the thrid tight end. The depth looks good at here, though recently incoming freshman Anthony Schiavone decided to transfer, and it's likely that Connor Boffeli will move to the offensive line. So, the freshman class is somewhat lacking.

2010 Commits:
QB/TE/Ath Austin Vier - Huxley, IA

With 3 or 4 quarterbacks likely in front of Vier, he may move right over to tight end. He did play receiver his sophomore year in high school so this could be a good option for him.

Notable Other Possibilities:
TE C.J. Fiedorowicz - Johnsburg, IL
TE Jarrett Darmstatter - Barnegat, NJ

C.J. Fiedorowicz is the tight end everybody wants. Right now Iowa is competing with Illinois and Wisconsin for C.J. Given Iowa's tradition for putting tight ends in the NFL, I would advise him to give the Hawkeyes a shot. Jarrett Darmstatter is another possibility at tight end. Darmstatter has offers from the likes of Rutgers, Syracuse, Louisville, Purdue, Michigan State, and Florida State in addition to Iowa.

Neediness:
Medium - 1 more tight end would be good

Iowa is particularly deep at tight end right now. I believe the Hawkeyes have more tight ends on their roster than any other team in the Big Ten (but don't quote me on that!). If Austin Vier ends up at tight end, then 1 more 2010 commit would suffice.

Wide Receiver

Current Situation:
1 Senior - Trey Stross
6 Juniors - Don Nordmann, Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, Nick Kuchel, Colin Sandeman, Paul Chaney, Jr., Ben Evans
3 Sophomores - Marvin McNutt, Kyle Steinbrecher, Brain Mungongo
2 RS Freshman - James Hurt, Steven Staggs
4 Freshman - Keenan Davis, Jordan Cotton, Stephane Ngoumou, Josh Brown

There are a lot of receivers on the 2009 roster, but also a lot of questions. I've picked Trey Stross and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos as my projected starters, but it could just as easily be Colin Sandeman and Marvin McNutt. Though Iowa won't use many 5 receiver sets, more won't use any 5 receiver sets, but still expect 6 or so guys to see the field. Though it may look like the position will be hurting in 2 years after the large junior class graduates, I expect big things out of the incoming freshman. Keenan Davis is the most refined right now, but with a couple years with instruction from Coach Campbell under the belt, this class will shine.

2010 Commits:
None

Notable Other Possibilities:
Matt Milton - Mascoutah, IL
Shakim Phillips - Wayne, NJ
Corey Redder - Pemberton, NJ

Of the 3 receivers I listed, I think Iowa has the best shot landing Corey Redder. Iowa is the only school that has currently offered him a scholarship and is in his top 2 with Maryland as his other choice. Matt Milton has Iowa behind Tennesee and Illinois and Shakim Phillips is looking more towards the east coast/south with teams like Tennessee and Georgia. But we're on their lists, so let's cross our fingers.

Neediness:
Medium - 1 to 3 receivers are needed

Iowa doesn't need to land any 4 or 5 star receivers, but getting a couple of hardworking guys that can develop over the next couple of years is important. I would expect any incomer to redshirt a year, but there is definitely the possibility of seeing playing time in 2011 when Stross, DJK, Sandeman, and Chaney are no longer on the team.

Projected starters in bold.
*Calloway will miss at least the first game with a suspension after the moped incident.
**Vandervelde has undergone surgery and will likely miss a few games at the beginning of the season.
***Who really knows about Jewel Hampton's injury. If it's a torn ACL he could redshirt this year, if it's not so bad he may only miss a couple of games.
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