Thursday was a big day for Iowa's big uglies. It ended with Tristan Wirfs becoming the 10th Iowa player of the Kirk Ferentz Era (and the fifth offensive lineman) to be selected in the first round of the NFL Draft. But the day began with a big addition for Iowa on the offensive line:
After an exciting recruiting process, I have decided that the University of Iowa will be the best place for me to continue my academic and football career. Thank you Coach Ferentz @CoachTimIowa and @CopelandKelton for making this an easy decision. #SWARM21 #Committed pic.twitter.com/WTh5gNNHwz— Beau Stephens (@BeauStephens70) April 23, 2020
It would be nice to say that Iowa was landing Wirfs' replacement the same day that Wirfs was officially moving on to the professional ranks, but that's probably too much pressure to put on Stephens' (broad) shoulders -- and probably more than a little unfair to the other offensive linemen Iowa has added in recent classes (especially since Stephens said Iowa is currently projecting him to play inside). That said, Stephens is still a significant get for Iowa. A hulking 6'6", 295 lb prospect out of Blue Springs, Missouri, Stephens is rated a 3* prospect by both Rivals and 247 Sports. But Rivals ranks him as a high-end 3* prospect (just a cut below a 4* recruit) and Stephens is another recruit where his offer sheet might tell his story better than his star rating.
Stephens reported scholarship offers from LSU, Michigan, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Missouri, Minnesota, West Virginia, Kansas State, Indiana, and Louisville, Oklahoma State, and Iowa State. 3* or not, there are some very impressive offers on that list, so Iowa earning his verbal commitment over that crew is a pretty noteworthy get. So what gave Iowa the edge? Coaches, coaches, coaches. Per Rivals:
Q: What do you think it was that made you feel at home there?
STEPHENS: It just felt right. With Coach Polasek, every time that I talk to him he always gets me fired up, and with Coach Kirk Ferentz, he felt like the right head coach to learn from. Then with Coach Doyle’s strength program, I’m excited to be a part of it.
Stephens also mentioned that his ambition is to be a strength coach and, well, getting schooled in the arts of strength and conditioning by Chris Doyle for 4-5 years ought to be one hell of an apprenticeship if he does decide to pursue that profession.
As for his highlights... BEAU KNOWS PANCAKES.
That boy loves to flatten guys coming at him (RIP to the guy at 3:48). Stephens shows good quickness and lateral movement, but what really impresses is his ability to use his technique and raw power to just manhandle defenders and drive them out of a play on rails. He puts that to really good use as a run blocker, where he's able to blow open some huge holes for teammates, but he also looks good in pass protection.
And not only does BEAU KNOW PANCAKES, but BEAU KNOWS BEEF.
Taking some great advice from Coach Ferentz and celebrating my commitment! pic.twitter.com/Xug2TW0UNI— Beau Stephens (@BeauStephens70) April 23, 2020
Yeah, we're gonna like this kid. Welcome to Iowa, Beau.