After years of recruitment, months of anticipation, and weeks of rumormongering, Iowa finally landed the commitment of West Des Moines Dowling defensive end John Waggoner on Tuesday afternoon. Waggoner, a 6'5", 245-lb. weakside end, chose the Hawkeyes over offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Oregon, Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan State and a host of others.
— John Waggoner (@johnwaggs_12) December 5, 2017
How many of those offers were "commitable," or how many of them were still on the table at the time of his commitment, are anyone's guess. Waggoner's recruitment hit its zenith near last year's Signing Day, when Michigan began showing interest. Waggoner remained a top target of some of the nation's best programs right up until the end of August, and had indicated he was going to make his decision early in his senior year. And then...nothing happened. There has been some talk that Waggoner was slightly injured this year, or that he was gameplanned out of production, but for whatever reason, most of the programs that had been so high on him that spring and summer scaled back this fall. Waggoner lost a star from both Rivals and 247, dropping back to three-star status at both sites (he went back to four-star status at Rivals when he committed today) (because none of this matters).
Among those programs was Iowa; word is that Ferentz's staff stayed engaged with Waggoner throughout but held off any sort of commitment, and that Kirk Ferentz stopped at Waggoner's school just days ago to inform him that they would not have room for him this year. It was that news that likely prompted a visit from Minnesota, scheduled for today. But when word came that Waggoner had told Minnesota's coaches to turn around and head home and was postponing other planned visits so that he could talk with a visiting Reese Morgan this afternoon, it was obvious what was happening next. Iowa found an opening, and Waggoner was back in the fold.
Watching Waggoner's junior-season highlights (above), it's clear what coaches saw in him. He's agile and has an obvious preternatural ability to diagnose what's going on around him. If that's still in place, he'll find a home in Iowa City, even with the defensive end depth chart as full as it's ever been. As important from a pure optics angle, Iowa gets a high-caliber defensive end for the second time in two years and the consensus best player in the state of Iowa; he's just the second player to be named Best Player in Iowa by Rivals to choose the Hawkeyes since 2012.
So welcome to Iowa City, Mr. Waggoner. It's a particularly good day to be a Hawkeye.