BOOM! Need some good news? We've got some very good news for you, friends. Iowa picked up their biggest win on the recruiting trail since... uh, well, since they secured a commitment from 5-star safety Xavier Nwankpa last year. Today Iowa added a verbal commitment from another 5-star prospect (and, coincidentally, Nwakpa's former teammate), highly sought offensive line recruit Kadyn Proctor.
Been a long time coming, the wait is over. Hawkeye Nation you got my everything from the first day I get there. Lets work Im Home pic.twitter.com/nwYgCnSMFi— Kadyn Proctor (KP) (@KadynProctor1) June 30, 2022
LET'S MOVE THOSE FEET!
Proctor is a major get for Iowa; he's rated a 5* recruit by every service under the sun (Rivals, 247 Sports, ESPN). He's ranked 14th overall in the Class of 2023 by Rivals, the 10th overall prospect by 247 Sports, and the sixth overall prospect by ESPN. In fact, technically, Proctor is Iowa's biggest recruiting get ever, or at least in the 20+ years that there have been formalized recruiting rankings. He's higher-ranked than Nwankpa or A.J. Epenesa, Iowa's previous top recruits. He is, in other words, a very big deal.
He's also, literally, a very big human -- he measures at 6'8", 335 lbs... as a rising high school senior. He hasn't even hit the Iowa strength and conditioning program yet and he's already a literal damn mountain of a man. In addition to his massive size, Proctor also has strong athleticism that helps him be an utterly dominant force on the edge in terms of blocking. He's more advanced as a run blocker (think: a bulldozer in human form) but he also shows high-level skills as as pass blocker.
Proctor wears #74 at Southeast Polk and he chose that number out of admiration for former Iowa star Tristan Wirfs. Wirfs, of course, was Iowa's last superstar offensive tackle -- he became a starter on the line midway through his true freshman season and quickly became one of the best linemen in the Big Ten (and then the country) before he departed after his junior season to become a first round NFL Draft pick (and immediate NFL star for the Tampa Bay Bucs). Proctor is bigger than Wirfs (who was listed at 6'5", 308 lbs coming out of high school) and more advanced in his development than Wirfs was at this point of his career. Proctor's the type of recruit who should be a Day 1 starter and produce an immediate impact; beyond that, the sky's the limit for him.
Proctor had offers from basically every program in the country, including a who's who of blue bloods like Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Michigan, and USC. His decision reportedly came down to Iowa and Alabama. So why choose GO HAWKS over ROLL TIDE? As he told Hawk Central:
“I could see the development (at Iowa),” Proctor told the Des Moines Register. “The offensive line development. I’m breaking down academics and football, the city life, everything.”
OL U strikes again. Look, if Iowa is going to get 5* recruits like Nwankpa and Proctor, it's going to be take a perfect storm of factors: local recruits (both guys were from Iowa) at positions that Iowa has a great track record (Iowa's history of development at defensive back and offensive line is, of course, exceptional over the last 20+ years). And that's exactly what happened here.
Iowa's track record of developing offensive line prospects into star performers -- and future NFL millionaires -- has been extremely good during Kirk Ferentz's time at Iowa. Robert Gallery. Eric Steinbach. Bruce Nelson. Bryan Bulaga. Riley Reiff. Brandon Scherff. Tristan Wirfs. And even more beyond that. Granted, Alabama under Nick Saban has been no slouch at turning OL prospects into stars and NFL draft picks, either. But it probably doesn't hurt that Iowa is a short drive from home, which will make it easy for his family and friends to watch him play in college. And Proctor's Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights earning potential is likely higher in Iowa City, where he figures to be on the bigger stars on campus for the three years or so that he's in Iowa City, than in Tuscaloosa, where he'd be one of (literally) 40+ 5-star recruits in the program.
But we can spend more time parsing out his decision later if we feel like it. For now, let's just watch him pulverize some hapless defensive players.
And let's just enjoy the fact that Iowa beat Bama -- and secured one of the biggest recruiting wins of the Kirk Ferentz Era. It's a damn good day to be Hawkeye. Welcome to Iowa, Kadyn -- we are beyond excited to see you drive some Big Ten rivals into the turf in the near future.