Today is Creepmas and we've eagerly unwrapped all of our presents, even finding a few somewhat unexpected surprises under the recruiting tree this year. But now that the dust has settled, it's time to take stock of this year's recruiting class. Most importantly, it's time to put our chips down on our favorite recruits of the bunch. There's no overwhelming favorite this year the way there was a few years ago when A.J. Epenesa made his commitment official, but there are several intriguing options.
ADAM: Jacobs is my guy and not just because our last names are basically the same. Jacobs comes in at 6'4" and 210 with a physical skillset Iowa rarely sees at linebacker. He's rangy enough that he can disengage from blockers with relative ease, and he's got the closing speed to be an absolute menace behind the line of scrimmage. He'll love playing behind a defensive line that traditionally does a great job of holding blockers and keeping its LBs clean.
It's easy—very easy—to look at Jacobs' frame and physical gifts and see a Chad Greenway 2.0 in the making. But football's not what it was in 2002, and Phil Parker isn't Norm. So it's more likely that as long as he stays healthy, Jacobs is going to have a type of career we've never seen from an Iowa linebacker. Can't wait to find out how it unfolds.
PAT: On the one hand, Jestin Jacobs looks like a bona fide four-star recruit who can play the most important position on Iowa's defense from the moment he walks on campus. On the other hand, I get to sing "Party in the city where the heat is on, all night on the beach til the break of dawn, Josiah Miamen (Bienvenido a Miamen!)" for the next five years. I'll take the latter.
MIKE: Consider me intrigued when you’ve got a 3-star tight end with offers from Notre Dame, Michigan, Northwestern and multiple Ivy League schools. Consider me extremely intrigued when that tight end has narrowed his schools down to Iowa and Wisconsin, he comes to Kinnick Stadium to watch Iowa lose to Wisconsin in heartbreaking fashion and then decides to commit to Iowa anyway. That’s the type of player I want to know more about.
Miamen is a tight end that is basically an oversized wide receiver. At 6’4, 225 pounds, he’s tall, shows excellent leaping ability and has great hands. In my mind, he draws a lot of comparisons to George Kittle, who came to the Hawkeyes as a wide receiver, redshirted, put on 35 pounds and was playing by his redshirt freshman season. Miamen already has a lot of that weight but he’s going to need more muscle and learn to block in Kirk Ferentz’s scheme.
That being said, I’m curious to see whether or not the Ferentzes decide to simply utilize tight ends as wide receivers. Iowa isn’t exactly hitting on all cylinders on the wide receiver front, whereas everyone and their dog would like to play for what is turning into the new Tight End U. If they decide to just start lining up multiple tight ends as receivers, Miamen is the type of player who could see playing time immediately. Even if he does redshirt, I think he’s got the talent to develop into an All-Big Ten player.
ROSS: I miss Akrum Wadley. I think there have been better overall running backs than Wadley during Ferentz's 20 years at Iowa (though not many) and probably more consistent running backs than Wadley during that span, but there haven't been as many that were as fun as Wadley. Wadley was electrifying because every single time he touched the ball, there was always the possibility of something spectacular happening. He was a scratch ticket in human form -- except his rate of return was much better than what you'd get from a scratch ticket. He also had a knack for showing up in Iowa's biggest games; he essentially was Iowa's entire offense in the famous win over Michigan in 2016 and he was thisclose to willing Iowa to an improbable win over Penn State in 2017. He carried Iowa to a win in the Pinstripe Bowl last year in his final act in an Iowa uniform, snapping Iowa's miserable bowl losing streak.
I say all that because when I watch Tyler Goodson's highlights, I get the same feeling that I got when I watched Wadley. Goodson played at a big school in Georgia against quality competition... and he made guys look foolish on the regular. Just look:
His speed in the open field is phenomenal (and something no current Iowa running back can match), but what really makes him stand out are his vision and his change of pace; he reads his blocks well, anticipates defenders brilliantly, and has the sort of quick-twitch reactions that are the result of phenomenal good fortune in the genetic lottery. Oh, and he's got a great sense of balance, enough strength to avoid going down on first contact, and good hands as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. Put Goodson in a black and gold uniform and let him cook; I am ready to be dazzled by an Iowa running back again.
So those are our picks. But what about you? Which recruits are the apple of your eye? Let us know in the comments.