Caring is Creepy 2020: Recruiting Recap

By RossWB on June 28, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Class of 2020
@_DeuceHogan__
HAVE A SEAT
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We're still a bit over five months away from the fax machines whirring into action to make Iowa's 2020 football recruiting class complete, but... Iowa's class is just about done. After a whirlwind week or so that saw the Hawkeyes pick up a whopping ten verbal commitments, Iowa's up to 20 members of its 2020 recruiting class. The recruiting experts at Hawkeye Report (Iowa's Rival site) are pegging this class size at 22-24, so there's room for a few more guys -- but not many. 

If 20 guys at this point in the recruiting cycle seems like a lot, well, you're right. Only five programs currently have more than 20 verbal commits (Ole Miss, Kansas, Minnesota, Army, and Navy). And if you're thinking 20 guys at this point seems like a lot for Iowa, well, recent history agrees with you. Here's how many verbal commitments Iowa has had as of June 26 in each of the past seven seasons. 

2018: 13 
2017: 10
2016: 11
2015: 15
2014: 9
2013: 6
2012: 12
2011: 5
2010: 3
2009: 6

Recruits have been committing to schools earlier and earlier over the last decade and that trend has only accelerated further with the NCAA's addition of a National Signing Day in December. But still: 20 recruits at this point is a lot for Iowa. Let's take an overview of the class so far to refresh on what Iowa has in the fold so far and where they might be looking to use their remaining few scholarships. 

QUARTERBACK

Deuce Hogan
Grapevine, TX
6'4", 205 lbs | 4* Rivals | 4* 247
Notable Offers: Georgia, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Houston
Committed to Iowa: 6/29/18
MORE: Have a Seat, Deuce Hogan

Deuce was the O.G. recruit for the 2020 class -- he was the very first guy to verbal to Iowa from this class, almost exactly a year ago (June 29, 2018). He's seen since his stock rise -- Rivals moved him from a 3* prospect to a 4* prospect earlier this year -- but he's not only remained firm in his commitment to Iowa, he's been the Pied Piper of this class for Iowa: 

Iowa's QB situation is going to be completely up in the air after this season, and while Hogan will be at an experience disadvantage compared to the other candidates vying for the starting job in 2020, we're not going to completely rule him out from cracking the two-deeps. After all, Iowa's current starting QB Nate Stanley, first turned heads by becoming the main back-up to C.J. Beathard in the 2016 season. 

Also: 

"something is brewing in Iowa City"? If he's already trolling Iowa State and their "a storm is brewing" bit, we love him even more. 

RUNNING BACK

Gavin Williams
West Des Moines, IA
6'0", 195 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Michigan, Nebraska, Iowa State
Committed to Iowa: 1/11/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Gavin Williams 

Iowa's first RB commit named Williams was a big get because he's the top skill position prospect in the state -- and a skill position prospect worthy of some legit offers. Keeping him in the fold over those other suitors is a good sign for Iowa. Iowa's running game has been below-par in recent years and while there are some systemic reasons that serve as contributing factors that won't be solved by recruiting, Iowa's done an impressive job of adding some talented and intriguing names to the RB position in recent classes and Gavin Williams is one of the top names in that pool of contenders. 

Leshon Williams
Oak Lawn, IL
5'10", 205 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Cincinnati, Kansas State
Committed to Iowa: 5/16/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Leshon Williams

As for Iowa's other RB commit named Williams, his offer sheet doesn't have quite as much sizzle, but he was enormously productive (2115 yards, 24 TD, 9.7 ypc) last year and his highlights show an elusive runner who can contribute in the passing game and as a runner. 

WIDE RECEIVER

Quavon Matthews
Largo, FL
6'0", 170 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: North Carolina
Committed to Iowa: 6/16/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Quavon Matthews 

Matthews was part of Iowa's recent commitment binge, although it happened before this past weekend, so you're excused if you forgot about him a bit. Matthews was one of the two Largo recruits (DB Keylen Gulley is the other) Iowa has pulled in for this class, and the presence of former Hawkeye Marcus Paschal as the had coach at Largo is definitely helping Iowa develop a mini-pipeline down in the Sunshine State. An ACL injury that wiped out his junior season put a damper on Matthews' recruiting hype, but he's fully recovered now and ready to show his stuff as a senior. He looks like he could contribute to Iowa as a slot receiver and possible return man. 

Wide receiver is one position where Iowa will probably look to add another commit; Illinois prospect Kaevion Mack and Connecticut prospect Diante Vines (both 3* recruits) are Iowa's top options at the position for now. 

TIGHT END

Elijah Yelverton
Dallas, TX
6'5", 235 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Michigan, Penn State, Oregon, Oklahoma State, LSU, Florida, Georgia, many more
Committed to Iowa: 4/12/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Elijah Yelverton

No commit in Iowa's 2019 class has an offer sheet as impressive as Yelverton, who (per Rivals) boasts 29 offers from Power 5 programs, including some very big names. He's also just behind Hogan as Iowa's highest-rated recruit, so there's little doubt that he's one of the absolute jewels of this class for the Hawkeyes. Yelverton chose Iowa due in no small part to Iowa's tremendous track record at the tight end position; it's no coincidence that he committed just a few weeks before Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson went in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft. 

The surprising thing is that Iowa hasn't been able to turn that TE success into another big-time tight end recruit in this class. Iowa is looking to add another TE to their 2020 haul and right now their top targets are 3* Luke Lachey, an Ohio prospect who was one of the few previously-uncommitted players at last weekend's recruiting event in Iowa City who didn't end up giving a verbal to Iowa after the weekend, and 4* target Theo Johnson, an elite prospect out of Canada. Like Yelverton, both Lachey and Johnson have offer sheets dripping with big names (Iowa's main competition for Johnson? Oh, just the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, and Miami...). Either guy would be a fantastic addition to Iowa's 2020 class and help keep TE U's momentum rolling along. 

OFFENSIVE LINE

Tyler Elsbury
Byron, IL
6'6", 298 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: West Virginia, Syracuse, Missouri, Purdue
Committed to Iowa: 3/8/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Tyler Elsbury

The first of two big and burly OL commits Iowa picked up in early March, Elsbury is from the other side of the Missouri River and represents another Iowa win in the Land of Lincoln. He projects as a guard at the moment, but time will tell where he winds up along the offensive line. 

Josh Volk
Cedar Rapids, IA
6'4", 306 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Nebraska, Iowa State
Committed to Iowa: 3/8/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Josh Volk

The second of Iowa's two big and burly OL commits from early March,Volk is a local product who chose Iowa over offers from Nebraska and Iowa State, which clearly shows that he's an intelligent young man with discerning taste and good judgment. Volk also currently projects as an offensive guard right now. 

Mason Richman
Stilwell, KS
6'5", 259 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Air Force, Kansas
Committed to Iowa: 6/12/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Mason Richman

Iowa's third and (for now) final OL commit was part of the most recent recruiting binge (he actually kickstarted the "10 commits in 12 days" flurry for the Class of 2020) and hails from Kansas. Unlike Volk and Elsbury, who already have plenty of size, Richman is comparatively slight (259 lbs) and will need to spend some time with Chris Doyle before he sees the field at Iowa. 

OL is always a big volume position at Iowa (or any football team, frankly), so it wouldn't be a shock if Iowa opted to add another OL to their 2020 class. Unfortunately, their top target, Connor McLaughlin, committed to Stanford earlier this week, so it's not fully clear where they might look to add a fourth OL commit to this class. 

DEFENSIVE LINE

Michael Lois
Elkhorn, WI
6'4", 260 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: n/a
Committed to Iowa: 9/1/18
MORE: Have a Seat, Michael Lois

Lois committed to Iowa during an on-campus visit the weekend of Iowa's season-opening win over Northern Illinois last year. Unfortunately, two weeks after he made that commitment, Lois suffered a serious back/neck injury (three broken vertabrae) in a freak pool accident. Lois' recovery is ongoing, but it's apparently going very well. Iowa has remained loyal to him throughout the entire process and it would be a wonderful story if Lois is indeed able to overcome an injury that severe to suit up and contribute for Iowa in a few years. For now, we just continue to wish Lois well during his rehabilitation. 

Isaiah Bruce
Lena, IL
6'2", 265 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Northwestern, Iowa State
Committed to Iowa: 11/1/18
MORE: Have a Seat, Isaiah Bruce

Bruce was Iowa's second DL commit in this class and he's an excellent athlete (he's played football, basketball, and track in high school) as well as a tremendously versatile player (he's played defensive end, tight end, wide receiver, and running back in high school so far). Restocking the defensive line is a major priority in Iowa's 2020 class and adding a versatile, talented athlete like Bruce is a good way to address that need. 

Logan Jones
Council Bluffs, IA
6'3", 252 lbs | 3* Rivals | 4* 247
Notable Offers: Nebraska, Iowa State, Minnesota
Committed to Iowa: 2/3/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Logan Jones

While Rivals has Hogan as the top recruit in Iowa's class, 247 has him edged out by Jones. They also list him as the top recruit in the state of Iowa. As always, keeping home big-time in-state talent is always good. Jones hails from the No Man's Land of western Iowa, where there as many Nebraska and Iowa State partisans as Iowa fans, so winning his commitment is something of a coup for Iowa. As noted, DL is a major priority in this class, so picking up the top DL prospect in Iowa seems like a great way to try and address that need. 

Ethan Hurkett
Cedar Rapids, IA
6'3", 230 lbs | 3* RIvals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: n/a
Committed to Iowa: 2/17/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Ethan Hurkett

Hurkett went to Iowa's first big junior day event back in February without an offer, but left as one of Iowa's earliest verbal commits in the Class of 2020; that was quite a whirlwind weekend. Hurkett is a guy who will need some seasoning (and size) if the intent is to play him on the defensive line, so he's probably not going to be an immediate boon to Iowa's needs at that position, but he was one of Reese Morgan's final recruits at Iowa, so hopefully he blossoms into a future contributor the way so many of Morgan's under-the-radar finds did for the Hawkeyes. 

Yahya Black
Marhsall, MN
6'5", 250 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Minnesota, Kansas State
Committed to Iowa: 6/14/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Yahya Black

Black was another player who signed on during Iowa's recent commitment binge and while his offer sheet isn't glittering, his highlights show a very intriguing prospect, a player with enormous wingspan, good quickness, and impressive hitting ability. It's not too hard to see Black turning into a terror off the edge in a few years. 

Lukas Van Ness
Barrington, IL
6'5", 240 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Minnesota, Kansas State, Kansas, Army, Navy, Air Force
Committed to Iowa: 6/23/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Lukas Van Ness

Van Ness was yet another member of Iowa's recent verbal commitment spree and another very intriguing prospect. Like Black, Van Ness has good size already and tremendous wingspan (81 inches), as well as a good first step, good instincts for the ball, and strong tackling ability. Again, like Black, Van Ness looks like a guy who could become a very promising edge rusher for Iowa in a few years. 

Aaron Witt
Winona, MN
6'5", 230 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Minnesota, Iowa State
Committed to Iowa: 6/24/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Aaron Witt

Iowa's final DL addition of this commitment frenzy was another DE from Minnesota, in this case a recruit who was actually committed to Minnesota for a time before finally coming to his senses. Witt's highlights suggested a guy who can play the run and the pass effectively, so while he may not be the edge rushing terror that Black or Van Ness could turn into, he could be a solid part of Iowa's DE rotation as well. Parker Hesse-types can be very effective (and useful) in Iowa's defense. 

Despite having commitments from seven (!) recruits targeted for the defensive line in this class, Iowa still might not be done recruiting for the DL. Like I said, DL is a really big priority for this recruiting class. The top remaining targets for Iowa are 3* Michigan product Bryce Mostella and 3* Indiana product Deontae Craig. Despite being "just" 3* recruit, either player would be an excellent addition to Iowa's class; they each have a host of impressive offers from P5 teams. One thing to note with Iowa's DL recruiting for 2020 is that it's been very heavy on defensive end types versus defensive tackle types. It's easier to convert a DE into a tackle than vice versa (or to convert a LB into a DE, in many cases), but Iowa's depth at DT is going to need to be addressed at some point. 

LINEBACKER

Jay Higgins
Indianapolis, IN
6'0", 209 lbs | 3* Rivals | 2* 247
Notable Offers: Air Force
Committed to Iowa: 6/23/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Jay Higgins

The rise of the "cash" position and Iowa's switch to a 4-2-5 look as the base defense has had the effect of de-emphasizing the linebacker position a bit. Also, Iowa added three linebacker recruits last year (Jack Campbell, Jestin Jacobs, Yahweh Jeudy) and four linebacker prospects the year before (Dillon Doyle, Seth Benson, Logan Klemp, Jayden McDonald). So there are a lot of young linebackers in the pipeline right now, meaning that LB isn't a major priority for the 2020 class. That allowed Iowa to be selective with linebackers this year and Higgins is the target they honed in on. Given his under-the-radar profile, the fact that they pursued him so aggressively now would suggest that they really like him. 

Higgins is expected to be the only LB that Iowa pursues in this class. 

DEFENSIVE BACK

Keylen Gulley
Largo, FL
6'0", 167 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: n/a
Committed to Iowa: 6/18/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Keylen Gulley

A week ago, Iowa had no DB recruits in their 2020 recruiting class; now they have four DB recruits, with Gulley being the first of those four to commit. Gulley, like fellow commit Quavon Matthews, hails from Largo, FL, and has been coached in high school by former Hawkeye Marcus Paschal, which certainly didn't hurt in steering a kid from Florida to Iowa City. Gulley was the first of Iowa's flurry of DB signings and his wingspan and tackling ability makes him a particularly intriguing player to enroll in Phil Parker's Finishing School. 

AJ Lawson
Decatur, IL
6'2", 180 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Minnesota
Committed to Iowa: 6/22/19
MORE: Have a Seat, AJ Lawson

Lawson is probably more of an ATH recruit than a pure DB recruit -- 247 lists him as a WR and his highlights show more of him at WR than DB -- but Iowa is reportedly eyeing him for the secondary at the moment. That could change when he gets on campus, of course, particularly as positional needs ebb and flow. Either way, his ability as a WR suggests good ball skills for a CB, which is always a plus. We'd like to keep the interception train rolling in the Hawkeye secondary. 

Brenden Deasfernandes
Belleville, MI
6'0", 161 lbs | 2* Rivals | 2* 247
Notable Offers: n/a
Committed to Iowa: 6/23/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Brenden Deasfernandes

Deasfernandes was one of the most surprising commits of this class, in part because his recruitment came out of nowhere (it took several days before Rivals had even ranked him in their system) and in part because of the timing of his offer from Iowa. It's not at all surprising that Iowa would dig up a prospect way off the radar, but they don't often offer prospects like that in June before that prospect's senior year; those are guys that Iowa offers more typically right before Signing Day in January and February (or in December, given the new Signing Day timeline). Offering him now seems to suggest that he's a guy that Phil Parker likes quite a bit. 

Reginald Bracy
Mobile, AL
6'0", 190 lbs | 3* Rivals | 3* 247
Notable Offers: Air Force, Indiana, Navy
Committed to Iowa: 6/24/19
MORE: Have a Seat, Reginald Bracy

The theme for every single one of Iowa's DB recruits in this class so far could be "In Phil We Trust." None of them have boffo recruiting ratings or dazzling offer lists. The argument in support of all of them is "Well, if Phil Parker likes 'em..." And Parker's track record at Iowa over the last 20 years is incredible, so trusting his assessments certainly seems like a good idea and one that's proved useful for Iowa football for a long time now. With Bracy and all of these guys, we'll have to see what happens when they get to Iowa City and start working with Phil Parker. Chances are good that at least 1-2 of them will turn into something pretty damn good at Iowa. 

Despite picking up four defensive back commitments already, Iowa is still pursuing more targets there, with Alabama 3* recruit Omari Porter serving as their top option. Porter would be Iowa's top-rated DB recruit, but he'll be tough to land given his very strong offer list (including Michigan, Oregon, Purdue, Georgia Tech, Cal, Nebraska, Kentucky, Stanford, Virginia Tech, and Wisconsin, among others). 

So that's where recruiting stands at the moment. The dust has settled and the commitment train has slowed down after the frantic action of last weekend and for the most part Iowa could be turning to 2021 recruits when it comes to football recruiting. But there will be a handful of further 2020 recruits, too, and some of them could be particularly exciting additions. 

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