7 things to know about Xavier Nwankpa, an Iowa football commit

Adam Hensley
Des Moines Register

Xavier Nwankpa isn't just one of the top football players in Iowa. He's one of the most highly recruited athletes to come out of the state in recent memory.

And soon, the Southeast Polk safety will make one of the biggest decisions of his life: deciding where to play college football.

Here are seven things to know about Nwankpa and his recruiting decision.

When is Xavier Nwankpa's commitment?

The senior will announce his plans for attending college on Wednesday, Dec. 8, at 4 p.m. CT. Fans can watch his commitment live here.

Why Dec. 8? It's his birthday.

More:Where will Xavier Nwankpa commit? Breaking down the latest buzz

More:The origin story of Southeast Polk mega-prospect Xavier Nwankpa

Iowa, Ohio State and Notre Dame make up Nwankpa's final three

Nwankpa's final official visit was to Iowa on the weekend of the Penn State game on Oct. 9. Since then, he's been to Notre Dame (Oct. 23) and Ohio State (Oct. 30) for unofficials.

According to 247Sports, Nwankpa holds 31 offers, including scholarships from Alabama, Clemson, Florida and others.

Previously:Southeast Polk 4-star safety Xavier Nwankpa announces final three schools

Southeast Polk's Jaxon Dailey (15) and Xavier Nwankpa (5) celebrate after catching the game-winning touchdown against Dowling Catholic at Southeast Polk High School on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. The Rams beat the Maroons 13-7.

What does Nwankpa think of in-state team Iowa?

Back in May, when Nwankpa released his top seven schools, he explained his communication and feelings toward each program on his list, sharing he speaks regularly with the Hawkeye staff.

"Good," Nwankpa said of his relationship with Iowa in May. "I talk to (head coach Kirk) Ferentz and (defensive recruiting coordinator Jay) Niemann and (defensive coordinator Phil) Parker on a regular basis. They have great development at DB, it's close to home and then some of the people I'm closest with have gone there."

Previously:Xavier Nwankpa breaks down his final 7 schools — from Ohio State and Clemson to Iowa and LSU

What is Nwankpa's recruiting rank?

Rivals lists the Southeast Polk athlete as a five-star prospect and ranks him as the country's top safety. 247Sports labels Nwankpa as a four-star recruit and the fifth-best safety in the country. Rivals, 247Sports and the Des Moines Register all rank Nwankpa as the best prospect overall in Iowa.

Nwankpa is a 2022 All-American Bowl selection

On Sept. 22, the All-American Bowl tweeted its congratulations to Nwankpa on earning the prestigious honor.

Nwankpa's senior year highlights

Nwankpa played a major part in leading Southeast Polk to a state championship in football, intercepting a pass in the state title game. 

Despite seeing limited action in missing a handful of games due to injury, he recorded 23 solo tackles, 4 interceptions and one kickoff return for a touchdown. Offensively, he caught 33 passes for 391 yards and five touchdowns, ran eight times for 49 yards and also completed one pass that resulted in a 12-yard touchdown.

Nwankpa's senior campaign started off in dramatic fashion, catching the game-winning Hail Mary in Southeast Polk's season-opener against Dowling Catholic.

Previously:Xavier Nwankpa hauls in Hail Mary to give Southeast Polk win over Dowling Catholic

Then on Oct. 8, with Southeast Polk clinging to a lead against Cedar Rapids Prairie, Nwankpa blocked the game-winning field goal attempt. It just so happened Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was in attendance for that game.

Nwankpa started for Southeast Polk's varsity team as a 14-year-old freshman

In 2018, Amy Kelce, Nwankpa's mother, was at the Southeast Polk football stadium to watch her stepdaughter's Powderpuff football game, which was scheduled to start after the varsity football team's practice. Kelce was surprised but happy to see her son getting some time in a varsity practice. But a few days later, Nwankpa learned he would be starting in the next game.

"We knew he was different, even as a 14-year-old kid. There’s not too many times you get a freshman that’s ready to play at the varsity level," Southeast Polk football coach Brad Zelenovich said. "We knew that he had a chance to be special." 

Previously:Xavier Nwankpa, a sophomore with Iowa State and Iowa offers, is loaded with potential

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Adam Hensley is a digital producer with the USA Today Network. You can follow him on Twitter @A_Hens83 or reach him at ahensley@gannett.com.