The Defensive Signees, Part I
Logan Jones - Defensive Lineman
Hometown (High School): Council Bluffs, IA (Lewis Central)
Measurements: 6'3", 255
247 Composite Ranking: 4-stars, 10th best strong side defensive end
Other Offers: Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska
From Have a Seat, Logan Jones:
Iowa needs bodies on the defensive line now, with graduation, transfers, and early NFL entries leaving the depth chart looking awfully bare. Jones won't help there: He's probably two years and at least 40 pounds from being in the realm of possibilities. But you can't start building the next round of Anthony Nelsons and Jaleel Johnsons without some raw material. As far as 2020 goes, it looks like Iowa's intent on getting a head start.
Jay Higgins - Linebacker
Hometown (High School): Indianapolis, IN (Brebeuf Jesuit)
Measurements: 6'2", 215
247 Composite Ranking: 3-stars, 67th best inside linebacker
Other Offers: Air Force, Ball State, Bowling Green, Central Michigan, more
From Have a Seat, Jay Higgins:
Higgins is listed at 6'0" and 209 lbs, which would make him a somewhat undersized linebacker. He's rated a 3* recruit by Rivals and a 2* recruit by 247Sports. Higgins chose Iowa over offers from Air Force and most of the MAC, including all three directional Michigan schools, Ball State, and Toledo. He's the second linebacker in Iowa's 2020 class (after Cedar Rapids prep Ethan Hurkett signed on in February) and the 17th overall member of the 2020 class.
Higgins flows to the ball well and shows off some good tackling chops. He's also definitely not afraid to turn on the hit stick -- he delivers some absolutely crunching tackles in those clips.
Brenden Deasfernandes - Defensive Back
Hometown (High School): Belleville, MI (Belleville)
Measurements: 6'1", 160
247 Composite Ranking: 3-stars, 225th best cornerback
Other Offers: Davenport (That's a school, apparently), Northwood University, Southeast Missouri State
At just 160 lbs, Deasfernandes is pretty light for a Big Ten defensive back, but he has time to add to that; the fact that he's just 16 years old suggests that he's not done growing yet, either.
But the argument for Deasfernandes really boils down to one thing: In Phil We Trust. Phil Parker's eye for talent and his acumen at developing players at the defensive back position is unmatched, as we've witnessed over the last 20 years. If he sees something in Deasfernandes, we're inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt.
Lukas Van Ness - Defensive Lineman
Hometown (High School): Barrington, IL (Barrington)
Measurements: 6'5", 240
247 Composite Ranking: 3-stars, 59th best strong side defensive end
Other Offers: Air Force, Army, Bowling Green, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Wyoming, every Ivy League school, more
Physically, Van Ness certainly looks the part -- at 6'5", 240 lbs he's pretty big already and his 6'9" wingspan (81 inches!) should make him a terror in the passing lanes and give him an edge when it comes to freeing himself from the grasp of offensive linemen. He has a nose for the football, strong tackling skills, a pretty good first step, and solid closing speed. He may need to develop a few more pass rush skills to get by blockers when he can't simply overpower them with his strength and quickness, but there's plenty of time to work on that.
Ethan Hurkett - Defensive Lineman
Hometown (High School): Cedar Rapids, IA (Xavier)
Measurements: 6'3", 230
247 Composite Ranking: 3-stars, 34th best inside linebacker
Other Offers: None
Hurkett didn't need much time to mull over the Iowa offer, as he told Rivals:
Q: Can you take me through how you found out about the offer and ended up committing?
HURKETT: Well, they pretty much just had my parents and I talk to Coach Ferentz. He just said, “We like you as a player and we want to offer.” I took a couple minutes with my parents to talk about it and then felt like it was the right thing just to commit.
Q: What made you so comfortable to decide to commit right away?
HURKETT: Iowa has always kind of been my top school, so the moment they offered I knew I wanted to go there. I didn’t want to mess around with the other stuff. I just wanted to get straight to it and commit.
Hurkett is listed at 6'3", 230 lbs and currently projects as an inside linebacker. But Hurkett mentioned that the Iowa coaches aren't set on him at a particular position yet and he could grow into a defensive lineman (likely an end), given another year's growth and some time in the Iowa weight room.
Stay tuned for Part Two of the Defensive Signees.