Iowa football recruiting finally landed its first commitment of the year last week in David Kenny, and added another Tuesday in Derrick Willies. SB Nation's excellent Iowa site, Black Heart Gold Pants, recently examined both prospects.
First is their look at defensive end David Kenney:
He's listed at 6'2" on all the sites with a listed weight that ranges from 240-255 lbs. He certainly doesn't appear to be on the big side in his highlight video, although he's also not the string bean that some of Iowa's recent defensive end recruits have been coming out of high school. And let's not forget: Kenney won't suit up for Iowa for another 17 months -- that's a long time to add a bit more weight.
While his highlight video doesn't show off great size, it does show off something else: very strong pass-rushing instincts. Granted, it's just a highlight video and the usual caveats apply, but Kenney spends most of that video living in the opponent's backfield and he gets to the quarterback in a hurry, which is exciting to see -- and something Iowa definitely needs. Iowa signed four defensive linemen in last year's recruiting class (and they'll probably take another 3-4 this year), but Faith Ekakitie and Jaleel Johnson may be better-suited to defensive tackle (particularly Johnson), while Drew Ott and Daumantas Venckus need some time in Chris Doyle's incubator before they're B1G-ready. (And we're still waiting to see if Johnson actually qualifies, too.) So yeah: Iowa needs more defensive linemen, particularly defensive ends who can rush the passer. That seems to describe Kenney perfectly.
The most encouraging thing about Kenney, to me, is his size. Iowa has done a great job using larger defensive ends to set and control the edge, and Kenney should be able to play at close to 270 pounds.
Here's the note on wide receiver Derrick Willies:
The usual caveats about highlight reels apply, but his highlights appear to have exactly what Iowa wants out of its wide receivers. Not to mention the thing that probably had the Iowa coaches [smiling] as soon as they hit play: BLOCKING HIGHLIGHTS! Seriously, at least a third of those highlights are devoted to clips of Willies blocking. And he's... pretty good at it, actually. He's no Hines Ward or anything, but he certainly looks a cut above a lot of high school receivers when it comes to blocking. That certainly bodes well for his ability to see the field quickly at Iowa. In any event, welcome aboard, Mr. Willies.
Willies claims to run a 4.4 40-yard dash. That's doubtful. Even if he does run that time, he does not play to it. Still, I agree with BHGP that Willies can play in the Big Ten.