DEONTAE CRAIG – DEFENSIVE END
Hometown (High School): Culver, IN (The Culver Academies)
Measurements: 6'3", 230
247 Composite Ranking: 4-stars, 19th best weakside defensive end
Other Offers: Tennessee, Indiana, Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Notre Dame, Minnesota, North Carolina, Michigan State, Michigan, Ohio State, more
Beating out Ohio State for a Rust Belt recruit? Yes please! Craig, one of the biggest gets of the class, chose Iowa over an impressive list of schools, signing with his family yesterday:
Iowa won Craig's favor for two main reasons, per Rivals:
“I chose Iowa because of the stability of the coaching staff and how well they develop their players.”
That certainly checks out: stability is one thing Iowa's staff can sell better than nearly any other and player development has been a pretty consistent positive for Iowa during Kirk Ferentz's 20 years in charge, too. That applies more at some positions than others -- but it so happens that Craig's projected position (defensive end) is one of those. It can't hurt to point to the likes of A.J. Epenesa, Anthony Nelson, and Parker Hesse when discussing defensive end development, to say nothing of guys like Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard, and Matt Roth if you go back a few years.
You want highlights? We got em:
The Walk Ons
AARON BLOM - KICKER
Hometown (High School): Oskaloosa, IA (Oskaloosa)
Measurements: 5’11", 165
JEREMY CHAPLIN – DEFENSIVE LINEMAN
Hometown (High School): Waverly, IA (Waverly-Shell Rock)
Measurements: 6'2", 245
JAMISON HEINZ – WIDE RECEIVER
Hometown (High School): Humboldt, IA (Humboldt)
Measurements: 6’0", 195
JACK JOHNSON – WIDE RECEIVER
Hometown (High School): West Des Moines, IA (Valley)
Measurements: 6'0", 180
ISAIAH WAGNER – WIDE RECEIVER
Hometown (High School): Des Moines, IA (Southeast Polk)
Measurements: 6'4", 215
Looking past walk-ons is a mistake if you’re an Iowa fan, as this Hawkeye program is well versed at turning overlooked recruits into Big Ten football players.
Aaron Blom received a 5-star rating from the Kohl’s Kicking Camp and had a partial scholarship offer from Western Illinois. He also…played linebacker for Oskaloosa and was their leading tackler? That is a very Iowa special teams player factoid.
Jeremy Chaplin played both sides of the line for Waverly-Shell Rock but Iowa will be developing him on the defensive side of the ball, for now.
Heinz, Johnson or Wagner will be Iowa’s slot receiver of the future. Heinz did a little bit of everything for Humboldt, primarily playing running back, rushing for 1,134 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also returned a few kickoffs for touchdowns. Johnson was one of the playmakers for a Valley team that cruised through the regular season and playoffs before, as usual, losing to Dowling in the Championship. Wagner is already 6’4", 215 pounds, which is very large for a walk-on. With that type of frame coming out of high school you could see him putting on a few pounds and turning tight end.
Per 247 Sports there are still two commitments that have yet to sign with the Hawkeyes, 3-star defensive end Michael Lois and 3-star cornerback Keylen Gulley. Per Professional Writer Marc Morehouse, they will not sign during this period but are still expected to do so in February.