IOWA CITY, IA - NOVEMBER 12: A general view of Iowa Hawkeyes Kinnick Stadium against Michigan State Spartans November 12, 2011 in Iowa City, Iowa. (Photo by Reese Strickland/Getty Images)
Ross Binder of the excellent SB Nation Iowa site, Black Heart Gold Pants, joined us recently to talk Iowa recruiting. Here is your 2012 Iowa football recruiting primer. Take it away, Ross:
Iowa's 2012 class got off to a bit of a slow start, with only one commitment (three-star Illinois offensive lineman Mitch Keppy) until late June, but it picked up steam over the summer with seven commits in June and July, including back-to-back commitments from four-star IL linemen Jaleel Johsnon and Ryan Ward. And they've been steadily adding names ever since.
The Hawkeyes are currently sitting at 14 verbal commitments, with room for another four to five commitments under the current scholarship breakdown. That would put this class at 18-19 total, but I suspect it will be over 20 (probably around 22-23) when the dust settles on February 1, 2012. (Those extra slots should come from the standard off-season attrition that hits every school).
Right now, the class looks about on par with the last few classes Iowa signed: heavy on three-star kids, with a solid handful of four-star kids and a dash of under-the-radar two-star prospects. It's a solid-looking class, though, and it appears to address several of Iowa's needs in the next few years, particularly along the defensive line. The strength of the class has come from Iowa's ability to poach the best kids out of Chicago this year: arguably all four of Iowa's best recruits this year (defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie, defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson, offensive lineman Ryan Ward, and defensive back Maurice Fleming Jr.) are Chicago-area prospects.
In terms of remaining needs, while the Iowa coaches may look to add one or two more defensive players (especially at LB, where they've taken only one player so far this year, or at DL, which is a massive need, as noted earlier), the bulk of the remaining commits will likely come from the offensive side of the ball. Iowa has a pretty strong need to get a QB in this class, given that they'll only have one non-senior QB on the roster next year. They're likely to add several more receiver prospects since they only have two receivers who will sophomores or younger next year. They're also likely to add a couple more offensive line recruits, as that's another area that will be a little thin in a few years (they'll have eight junior or senior linemen next year). And given the almost preposterous attrition rate of Iowa running backs, it would be shocking (and borderline criminal) if Iowa didn't grab at least one running back commit this year, too.
The biggest remaining targets on Iowa's board appear to be Greg Garmon (four-star running back out of PA), Akeel Lynch (three-star running back out of NY), Alex Kozan and Joey O'Connor (two four-star offensive linemen out of CO), Jordan Diamond (four-star offensive lineman out of IL), Quanzell Lambert (four-star linebacker out of NJ), Jehu Chesson (three-star receiver out of MO), Malik Golden (three-star receiver out of CT), and Cody Sokol (JUCO three-star quarterback out of AZ). If Iowa's able to land even half of those guys, they should wind up with a very solid class.
And Ross has put together an awesome collection of profiles on each of Iowa's recruits:
Thanks again to Ross Binder and the folks at Black Heart Gold Pants for the excellent scoop on Iowa football recruiting.