It's been a good couple of days for Iowa football on the recruiting front and it began on Wednesday with a commitment from another coveted in-state prospect. This commitment came from Urbandale defensive lineman Max Llewellyn.
I cant thank each and every single coach enough that has taken the time to evaluate me as a recruit! This whole process has been a life changing experience and Im forever grateful! I have decided to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Iowa!! #swarm21 pic.twitter.com/eL9IlSzJP9— Max Llewellyn (@maxllewellyn34) April 22, 2020
Llewellyn is listed at 6'5", 230 lbs and rated a 3* prospect by both Rivals and 247 Sports. In addition to that 3* rating, though Llewellyn boasted some impressive names among his 15 scholarship offers, including Penn State, Michigan State, Kansas State, and Northwestern. Iowa State, Missouri, and Kansas also offered him, though they were looking at him on the offensive side of the ball. (So, yes, this is yet another in-state recruiting battle that Matt Campbell has lost to Kirk Ferentz. You just hate to see it.) PSU, MSU, KSU, and jNW all know a thing or three about stout defenses, so if they like Llewellyn's capacity on that side of the ball, that's a pretty good endorsement. Of course, Iowa also knows a thing or three about putting a stout defense on the field, so their interest in Llewellyn is pretty telling in its own right.
So what made Llewellyn choose Iowa -- and a future on the defensive side of the ball? He had some illuminating quotes in an interview with Rivals' Blair Sanderson:
Q: First, can you tell us what led up to your decision to commit to Iowa this week?
LLEWELLYN: This weekend, I got together with my family and talked to my head coach to review my film and my playing style and we all came to the conclusion that when push comes to shove I really belong on the defensive side of the ball. Once we decided that, I knew my best opportunity was at Iowa. If I felt I belonged more on the offensive side, then Iowa State would be the pick. It was a very tough choice, but I felt like the opportunity that Iowa has on defense is really appealing.
Q: Once you decided on defense, what made Iowa the right fit?
LLEWELLYN: I just think with Coach Doyle’s program and their culture, I can really excel there. I’ve also had some conversations with Coach Bell and he’s great. He gets right to the point and he’s a great mentor. He’s all about muscle memory and building off of the small things. You start off small and then you build on that every single day to get better and I’m all about that.
Q: You said earlier that you went back and looked at your film and decided that defense would be the right path for you in college. What do you like about defense and your skill set that translates there a little more?
LLEWELLYN: I think with my playing style, my explosion off the ball, and my aggressiveness, it could be lethal at the next level with the development in Iowa’s program.
You could say that he thinks training at Iowa will help him take things...
(puts on sunglasses)
to the Max.
Llewellyn's decision to choose Iowa is a massive endorsement of the work that Chris Doyle and Phil Parker have been doing in Iowa City for over 20 years now. They have a tremendous track record of taking prospects and molding them into multi-year starters, standout performers, All-Big Ten defenders, and future NFL draft picks. That track record of success should absolutely look pretty appealing to a prospect and it's great to see it paying off in a commitment from an extremely promising player like Llewellyn.
The highlights for Llewellyn show a prospect with some tantalizing raw tools:
Llewellyn highlights his explosion off the ball and his aggressiveness as reasons why he wanted to play on defense for Iowa and those traits certainly jump out on his film. He has good speed and a really explosive first step that helps him overwhelm opposing blockers. He shows an impressive ability to get into the opposing backfield in a hurry -- and a nose for the ball when he gets there. There are some definite echoes of recent Iowa standout Anthony Nelson in his game; if Llewellyn is able to have a career approaching that level, we'll be very pleased.
Welcome to Iowa, Max.