Have you verbally committed to Iowa yet? No? What are you waiting for? All the cool kids are doing it -- or at least all the cool kids at Iowa's big recruiting event this weekend. Fresh on the heels of Jalen Hunt's commitment yesterday, Iowa added commitments from a few more players today. First up: Dane Belton.
— GREAT Dane (@dbelton5) June 24, 2018
Also: we're getting 'croots to commit in Latin now? Impressive. But I guess they do call Iowa City the "Athens of the Midwest," after all. (Ad Mejorem Dei Glorium means "To the greater glory of God," incidentally.)
Belton, a consensus 3* defensive back recruit out of Tampa, FL, chose Iowa over offers from West Virginia, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, USF, UCF, Rutgers, Indiana, Maryland, Pitt, Minnesota, and a slew of mid-major programs. Rivals lists 26 offers for him, so he had no shortage of suitors. Belton is listed at 6'1" and 185 lbs and has the ability to play multiple roles in the secondary; that versatility was a key part in Iowa's interest in Belton, as he told Rivals.
"They love how I’m versatile and I can play safety and corner," Belton said. "They want me to come in and probably start out at corner and get to know the defense and just go from there. If I work hard enough, there’s a chance to earn some playing time early on."
As a junior, Belton recorded 56 tackles (36 solo) and had four interceptions and four pass break-ups. He also returned kicks, which you can see in the first play of his highlight reel:
In fact, he does a lot of returning in those highlights (kickoffs and punts) -- and looks pretty good at it. For an Iowa team that feels like it's perpetually looking for difference-makers in the return game (aside from the Desmond King years, maybe), that could certainly be a way for him to get onto the field and see playing time. But he has a lot to recommend on the defensive side of the equation, too -- he has some good ball skills, appears to read quarterbacks well (and ball-carriers too -- he closes on running backs and receivers quickly), and isn't afraid to toggle the hit stick on his tackles (though he also wraps up pretty well on most of his tackle attempts, too). Looking at his highlights, it's hard not to see Belton as a possible Micah Hyde starter kit -- similar size, similar attributes, similar versatility, similar return ability... Hyde had a pretty tremendous career at Iowa, so we'd happily take something similar out of Belton.
Welcome to Iowa, Mr. Belton.