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IOWA CITY, Ia. — The Hawkeyes officially welcomed 13 incoming freshmen on the first day of the early signing period, and they’re expected to announce the signings of Calvin Lockett, D.J. Johnson and Julius Brents soon.

Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday he anticipates Iowa’s early signing haul to be around 16 to 18 players and its total 2018 haul to wind up around 20 to 22. So, there’s still work left to be done, recruits yet to be landed.

More on Iowa Hawkeyes football:

Here’s a look at some prospects and areas of need Iowa might focus on for the rest of its 2018 class.

Seth Benson, LB

With Ben VanSumeren's late flip to Michigan, Iowa only has one current incoming linebacker in Iowa City West's Dillon Doyle. That isn't enough, as all three Hawkeye linebacker starters are leaving after the Pinstripe Bowl. The Hawkeyes were dealt a big blow Thursday when top junior college linebacker target Will Honas committed to Nebraska. But Iowa also recently offered South Dakota pledge Seth Benson, a two-star linebacker (6-1, 210) from Sioux Falls. He is Gatorade's South Dakota Player of the Year after racking up 110 tackles and leading Washington High to its third consecutive state title this season. Keep a close eye on Benson.

Drake Stoops, WR

Stoops, a 5-11, 175-pound receiver from Norman North in Norman, Oklahoma, has plenty of Iowa ties. His dad is former Oklahoma head coach and Iowa assistant coach Bob Stoops. Both his parents both went to Iowa, his mom was born in Iowa and his grandparents still live in Iowa. He's also very close with former Hawkeye George Kittle. So the Hawkeyes are likely the favorite, but Ohio and Memphis are also in the picture. Stoops has said he isn't sure if he wants to sign during the early signing period or not.

Caleb Griffin, K/P

Griffin is a 6-2, 180-pound kicker (who can also punt) from Danville in Danville, Illinois. Kohl’s Professional Camps — the Rivals and 247Sports for kickers/punters, essentially — gives him five stars as a kicker and 4.5 stars as a punter. He has preferred walk-on offers from Iowa, Virginia Tech and Illinois, plus a scholarship offer from Bowling Green. He took an unofficial visit to Iowa Dec. 13. The Hawkeyes don’t have an immediate need at kicker. They do at punter.

Running back

With two running backs graduating and Toks Akinribade recovering from an unspecified medical procedure, Iowa could use a second 2018 running back next to Henry Geil. It was hoping that guy would be Markese Stepp, a former Notre Dame pledge from Indianapolis. But he just signed with USC. According to 247Sports, the top remaining 2018 running back in the Midwest is Kristian Pechac, a three-star prospect from Bloomington, Indiana. Iowa has not offered; Minnesota and Indiana have.

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at mbain@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

 

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