Hawkeyes add to early recruiting flurry

Andy Hamilton
Bishop Heelan quarterback Nick McCann fires a pass as Pella linebacker Austin Schulte rushes him in the Iowa Class 3A state football championship game on Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014, at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Throughout the Kirk Ferentz era, the majority of Iowa's recruiting work paid dividends in the fall and winter months.

But college football's courtship process is picking up speed and the Hawkeyes are adjusting to the times. In April, rookie recruiting coordinator Seth Wallace said Iowa was changing its approach, operating with more aggressiveness and casting a wider net.

That bigger black and gold net snagged three Class of 2016 prospects over the weekend, two on Saturday when Pella's Austin Schulte committed to the Hawkeyes and linebacker Amani Jones jumped ship from Illinois, and one on Sunday when Iowa landed a commitment from Maryland wide receiver Devonte Young.

With the three latest gets, Iowa has 15 players committed to its 2016 group. For perspective, the Hawkeyes landed 40 players prior to June 21 in their previous 10 classes combined. Under Ferentz, Iowa had never had more than eight commitments this soon in one class.

Schulte, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound defensive end who's ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 3 senior in the state, earned a scholarship offer from the Hawkeyes earlier this month at a camp in Iowa City. He finished second to incoming Iowa freshman Garret Jansen on Pella's tackle chart last season with 53.5, including 19 behind the line of scrimmage.

Jones committed in April to Illinois, but Iowa offered in May and he visited Iowa on Friday before flipping to the Hawkeyes. The 6-0, 215-pound linebacker from Phillips High School in Chicago held eight other offers, including Indiana.

"The coaches have been there for a long time and they've won," Jones told 247Sports.

Young, a 6-foot, 190-pound receiver, also held offers from Power 5 programs Pittsburgh and Rutgers.

The recent surge – the Hawkeyes also picked up commitments Friday from Chariton tight end T.J. Hockenson and Illinois linebacker Nick Niemann – vaulted Iowa's class up to 29th in the Rivals.com 2016 class rankings.

The most recent Iowa commit was high on the Class of 2016 that he is a part of. "I think we're going to be an extremely structured group," Young told 247Sports' Iowa site, Voice of the Hawkeyes.

"We're going to have a strong bond that won't be broken because we were all talking about it yesterday, about committing within this week."