On Friday, Malik Rucker drove to Iowa City from New Hope, Minnesota to make an unofficial visit and to commit to Kirk Ferentz and The University of Iowa in person. Rucker became the ninth Iowa commit and the second defensive back.
All the scouting services list Rucker as a safety, but Iowa is bringing him on as a cornerback with the door open to move to safety if it's a better fit. Based on Rucker's size (6'0", 175 lbs.) and speed (a reported 4.48 40), he seems built more like a corner to me. Also, Iowa already has a committed safety in this class, Delano Hill, so corner may be a bigger need.
Rucker attends Robbinsdale Cooper High School, whose nickname is appropriately the Hawks. The Hawks went just 4-5 last year, but Rucker had a very good season personally as a junior. He accumulated 83 tackles, including 10 for loss, and had 2 interceptions. He performance last year earned him a spot on Team USA for the International Federation of American Football Under-19 World Championship.
Football in the Family
Rucker's father Charles played college ball back in the 80s at Nebraska. His brother Xavier followed in their father's footsteps and joined the Huskers as a walk-on receiver in 2006. It seems as Dad and bro we both supportive (his dad's the one what drove Rucker to IC and Rucker tweeted a picture with himself, his brother (I think that's Xavier), and Kirk Ferentz). Rucker's cousin is a familiar name, Alexander Robinson...former Iowa State running back. Those family ties didn't stop Malik from making the right decision avoiding those schools to the west (he did have an offer from ISU, but no Nebraska).
Rucker is a consensus 3-star defensive back (Rivals, Scout, 247Sports, and ESPN). What stood out to me in his video is his closing speed. He was quick to recognize where the ball was going, pass or run, and then get in position to make a play. He doesn't shy away from laying a big hit either. So even though his size and speed and the Iowa coaches say corner, he does look like a safety. There is some young talent in the defensive backfield with Nico Law, Torey Campbell, and Jordan Lomax, so I don't think there is an immediate need for Rucker. I could see him getting some time on special teams. He looks like he'd make a good gunner. However, Iowa does have 4 senior defensive backs (Micah Hyde, Greg Castillo, Collin Sleeper, and Jack Swanson) that will be gone by the time Rucker steps on campus, so he may have a shot at cracking the depth chart.