Class of 2023 football recruits can't sign a letter of intent for another 10 months, but that isn't stopping them from making college decisions now. Two intriguing prospects in that class gave verbal commitments to Iowa recently, so let's talk about 'em.
First up, Chase Brackney.
Brackney, a 6'4", 260 lb. defensive end prospect out of Englewood, Colorado, is listed as a 3* prospect by Rivals (247 Sports has not assigned a star rating to him yet). He chose Iowa over offers from USC, Cal, Colorado, Nebraska, Utah State, Colorado State, and a few other mid-major programs. As a junior, Brackney totaled 82 tackles, 4 sacks, 3 tackles for loss, and 2 fumble recoveries. What sealed the deal for Iowa? Based on his comments to Hawkeye Report, you might be surprised:
"The big thing for me was the academic side of things," Brackney said. "I really liked the academic structure for the athletes. Second, I liked that all the facilities where close by and easy access. Third, the coaching staff has been together for many years. The head coach has been there 20-plus years. I knew this was a football program I could truly commit to. Last, but not least, the true icing on the cake for me was that the visitor’s have a pink locker room."
The pink locker room continues to pay dividends, even in unexpected ways. Also interesting? Brackney has trained for years Ground Up Sports Performance in Colorado Springs, CO, a gym which is co-owned by former Hawkeye Jordan Bernstine. I'm sure he put in a few good words for the Hawkeyes while Brackney was doing reps over the years.
You can check out video highlights of Brackney below:
There's plenty to like from his clips. Brackney shows a good initial burst as a pass rusher, but he's not all power and speed; he's not bull rushing through blockers to get to quarterbacks and running backs. He shows an ability to use his hands to get free from blockers, as well as some ability to mix up his pass-rush moves. He also seems to have a good nose for the ball and wraps up well when tackling.
Iowa also added a verbal commitment from Alex Mota.
Mota, a 6'1", 174 lb. prospect out of Marion, Iowa, is considered a 3* prospect by Rivals and 247 Sports, who both also categorize him as an "Athlete." A local boy, Mota chose Iowa over offers from Iowa State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, Kansas State, and Miami (OH). As a junior, Mota played quarterback and safety at Marion High, throwing for 879 yards passing, running for another 629 yards, totaling 12 touchdowns, and also amassing 28 tackles on defense. Mota told Hawkeye Report that he's planning to line up as a running back and slot receiver as a senior, though.
Iowa initially offered Mota as a defensive back, but recently told him that they would be interested in him as a receiver as well. According to Mota (via Hawkeye Report), that's what swung his decision to commit to Iowa.
Q: What led up to your decision and what made it the right time?
MOTA: It started off as I wanted to get recruited as a receiver and they said yeah. I was already thinking about going to Iowa in the first place, so them seeing me as a receiver kind of pushed my decision to go ahead and commit.
Q: What makes wide receiver your preference?
MOTA: I think I'm quick and can run with the football and I'm really precise with my routes, so I think I can be a good all-around receiver.
Our interest is always piqued when Iowa likes a prospect as a defensive back, but wide receiver is certainly a pretty big need area as well, so if Mota thinks he can have a bigger impact there, let's see what he can do.
Here are some video highlights of Mota in action:
The highlights there are of Mota as a QB and S, not a WR, but you can see the skills that would make him attractive as a wide receiver, too. He's definitely got the speed, elusiveness, and change-of-direction skills that you want to see out of a slot receiver; it's not hard to look at him in those clips and see him running some of the same plays that Iowa used for Arland Bruce IV the past season.
Welcome to Iowa, Chase and Alex. We're looking forward to seeing what you can do in black and gold.