Jake Coons was there in 2010 when Solon stud James Morris signed to play linebacker for the Hawkeyes. Coons was just another fifth-grade fan at that point, one of many who came to watch their athletic idol officially commit to his — and their — dream school.
Now, it’s his turn. Next Wednesday, Coons will sign his Letter of Intent to play football 20 miles down Highway 1 in Kinnick Stadium.
"I’m excited — relieved that the process is over so I can move on and focus on the future," he said Tuesday.
Coons amassed 56 catches for 910 yards and 10 touchdowns in three years as Solon’s tight end, where he was utilized more as a pass blocker. The 6-foot-4, 215-pounder also played defensive end for the Spartans and led the team with six sacks this season.
247Sports gives him three stars and ranks him as the No. 5 "athlete" in Iowa. But you probably haven’t heard too much about him.
That's because Coons’ recruitment has been nearly silent. He got offered in December of 2014, committed in December of 2015 and ended contact with potential suitors right then and there.
In a year characterized by prospects unhitching their wagons from Iowa, Coons' hasn’t budged.
"Growing up, living in Iowa City, you grow up loving the Hawkeyes," he said. "And once you commit, I don't know how to explain it — you just can’t wait to be a part of the program and you don't want to jeopardize that. So I tried to commit right away once I knew my decision.
"I trust people with their word, so I, myself, want to do the same. So if I give someone my word, I’m going to keep that 100 percent. So loyalty has been a big part of my life."
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Coons will take his official visit to Iowa this weekend. Not for any new recruitment pitches, but to finally meet some of his future teammates, he said.
"We’ve been communicating daily, just starting to get to know each other better," he said.
Coons is also a basketball star at Solon, where he leads the 9-4 Spartans with 12.4 points per game. His ability to contort his body in the air for layups helps him do the same for catches on the football field.
Allen Trieu, Scout.com’s Midwest football recruiting manager, said that athleticism will earn Coons immediate looks at tight end.
"I think he’ll be a move guy, an H-back type of guy who can motion into the backfield," Trieu said. "He’s not maybe as big as some of the other tight ends that they’ve recruited in the past, but he’s a little bit more athletic. He can do some things in space, has shown some of that versatility in high school. So I think some on the offensive side of the ball, tight end is the first spot that he’ll try, but I could definitely see him transitioning into other spots as well."
"Defensive end would seem like the most likely if he’s going to move to another spot," Trieu said. "Can’t see him adding enough weight to play offensive line or interior defensive line, so tight end or defensive end."
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.