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The messages, phone calls and visits continued for months as Nick Wilson wondered whether all the dialogue with Iowa football coaches would ultimately lead to an opportunity with the Hawkeyes.

Amid all the waiting and uncertainty, the Dowling Catholic elite all-state safety accepted a full-ride from Western Illinois with a caveat: His status with the Leathernecks might change if the Hawkeyes extended a scholarship offer.

It changed Saturday morning in the middle of breakfast when Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz pulled Wilson aside and delivered the news the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior had been hoping to hear.

"I was always happy with that (Western Illinois) offer," Wilson said. "I loved the coaches and the campus and I would've been perfectly fine going there. But this opportunity is my dream and I had to take it.

"Ever since I was a kid playing football, I always wanted to play at the highest level I could get to. Division I-A was my goal and my dream. It was my goal since flag football."

Wilson is believed to be the 20th player to commit to Iowa's 2015 class and the 10th in-state prospect. He joins a group that includes quarterback Ryan Boyle, Wilson's teammate since fifth grade.

When they were sophomores, Boyle suffered a torn ACL in the season's fifth game and Wilson quarterbacked the Maroons to six straight victories. When Boyle returned the next season, Wilson moved to safety and became a two-time all-state pick.

Wilson had a hand in 135 tackles, picked off four passes and recovered three fumbles during Dowling's back-to-back state championship run.

The Hawkeyes, though, want him to play outside linebacker.

"I've had to change positions a few times in my career," he said. "It won't be too hard for me to get a handle on it. It's a similar position to the way I played safety last year. I'll be able to get used to it."

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