The recruiting road can be a winding one, filled with commitments and changes of heart; and that certainly feels true in the Pandemic Era, when in-person visits are an impossibility and contact happens mainly through text messages and FaceTime calls. Jordan Oladokun, a defensive back out of Florida, first committed to Iowa back in mid-April, during a particularly fruitful recruiting spell for Iowa; he kicked off a run of six verbal commitments in the span of two weeks.
Iowa's pursuit of Oladokun hit a snag in early May, though, when he stepped back from his verbal commitment to Iowa to consider other options. He investigated those other options through the remainder of May and the first three weeks of June, before settling on four finalists for his next commitment: Kansas State, Louisville, Pittsburgh, and Iowa. He chose the Hawkeyes for the second time on Sunday.
Oladokun, listed at 5'11", 180 lbs, is rated a 3* prospect by both Rivals and 247 Sports. Last season he played offense, defense, and special teams for Gaither High School in Tampa, Florida, where he had 28 catches for 532 yards and six touchdowns as a receiver, 20 tackles and two interceptions as a defensive back, and almost 400 yards and a touchdown as a return man as well. Iowa currently projects him as a defensive back.
Though Oladokun had just two interceptions last year, that came on the heels of two very prolific years in terms of picking off opposing passers; he had 11 as a freshman and 9 as a sophomore. After those displays of ballhawkery, opposing quarterbacks simply stopped throwing the ball his direction, according to his high school coaches. As Iowa fans we know what that looks like: see the difference between Desmond King's junior season and his senior year. Charles Williams, a coach at Pick 6 Academy in Tampa who's worked with Oladokun, had high praise for his ball skills in an interview with 247 Sports:
“I tell people, there’s a difference between Richard Sherman and Sean Smith. Richard Sherman and Sean Smith are the same size and same athleticism, but Sherman has double the amount of picks. Smith isn’t very good at catching the ball. What separates Jordan is his ability to catch the ball, he is excellent in that regard.”
Williams also praised his ability to read routes and diagnose plays on defense:
"You can have guys that clock 4.2, 4.3, but none of those guys are walking or running by him. He pattern reads like a third-year college defensive back or first or second year NFL guy. Meaning, when he’s in Cover 3, his route recognition is on point. It is second to none. If he sees No. 2 goes away, he knows he has 1-on-1 with No. 1. If No. 1 goes away or runs something short, he’s all over No. 2 for a pick."
You always have to take praise from a player's coach with a few grains of salt, but there's certainly a lot to like about his game, and you can definitely see glimpses of his prowess with the ball in the highlights below:
He reads the flight of the ball well and times his jumps excellently, allowing him to snare the ball or at least get a timely deflection. His ability in space is also notable -- he changes direction very smoothly and he shows an ability to accelerate very rapidly when the opportunity presents itself. It's a blast to watch him glide through would-be tacklers -- and then turn on the jets and run away for them. (Or just leave them looking helpless, as he does at the 2-minute mark.)
Obviously, this hasn't been the most straightforward recruitment process for Oladokun and he can't officially commit to Iowa for another six months. He seems quite locked in to Iowa after letting his eye wander a bit in May, though, and if that's the case, he's another exciting addition to Iowa's future secondary. Welcome (back) to Iowa, Mr. Oladokun.