Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: Will Xavier Foster become too big for Iowa?
Last weekend, I made a generous donation to the blackjack tables of Las Vegas.
Still, the vacation was a blast. I'm glad to be back, though. A lot happened while I was gone. Tyrell Terry committed to Stanford, Iowa picked up Iowa Western transfer Mekhi Sargent and UCLA offered Xavier Foster, to name a few things. (I was actually stuffing my face at a brunch buffet when I was told about Foster.)
So, let's get right to it.
Is Xavier Foster too nationally coveted for the Hawkeyes to land him? — @iowafanwilliams
No. I said this in last week's Cyclone recruiting mailbag, and I'll say it again here: Iowa and Iowa State will be major players for Foster until the very end.
That's what happens when you properly identify an elite, in-state talent and show him love early. The Hawkeyes and Cyclones offered Foster before he ever played a high school game. (Though he wasn't the hardest prospect to find — how many athletic, coordinated, 6-foot-11 freshmen exist in the world?) There are strong relationships here, built from the fact that the in-state schools demonstrated earnest belief right away.
And those relationships won't go away, no matter how many blue-blood offers Foster accumulates (he picked up his first from UCLA over the weekend).
Iowa will be in the hunt. Iowa assistant Sherman Dillard has done a great job here. Fran McCaffery is also heavily involved this early in the process. That matters. Coaches can start directly contacting 2020 prospects on June 15. I'd be shocked if Foster wasn't one of McCaffery's first calls that day.
But @iowafanwilliams is right: Foster is starting to hit another level of national prominence, and Iowa could have even stiffer competition than it does for Bettendorf five-star point guard D.J. Carton — if for no other reason than Foster was identified as an elite prospect earlier in his high school career. The UCLA offer is big. If Foster's Iowa, Iowa State and Creighton offers started a Midwest domino effect, the Bruins offer could be the start of major national interest to come.
At the least, the UCLA offer will signal to other top-end programs that Foster is a prospect to monitor. In the Pac-12, I'd be surprised if Oregon's Dana Altman hasn't seen film of Oskaloosa's five-star power forward.
Kansas has been interested since Foster's freshman season. Some other notable programs among his laundry list of interest: Michigan, Xavier, Virginia, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Florida State.
Foster is now the type of prospect where an offer could realistically come at every unofficial visit. In other words: He's a guy that coaches love on film and just need to see in person before extending a scholarship. He's three-for-three so far in visits-turned-to-offers this offseason with Baylor, USC and UCLA.
Currently, Foster, Carton and Iowa recruit Patrick McCaffery are in Virginia for the prestigious NBPA Top 100 Camp that runs through Sunday. Foster is among the 121 prospects invited, which include only 22 in his 2020 class.
He visited and received offers from USC and UCLA after his last camp — a trip to California for the Pangos All-American Camp.
On Wednesday, Foster's dad let me know they don't have any unofficial visits planned on their trip to Virginia for the NBPA Top 100 Camp.
So, Tyrell Terry announced his verbal commitment to Stanford ... how does this (affect) both Iowa and Iowa State's recruiting plan moving forward? — @l3luEyes
I'll answer for Iowa here and for Iowa State over in the Cyclone recruiting mailbag.
Tyrell Terry's commitment to Stanford changes very little for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa has a stable of point guard options it's evaluating and recruiting in case Carton goes elsewhere. Yes, Terry was a part of that stable. But I'm not sure he was a realistic option for Iowa at this point. Given how much his recruiting stock exploded this spring, Terry became a prospect that high-end programs, such as Stanford, prioritized. With Carton as the clear No. 1 guy, Iowa wasn't in a position to pour as many resources into its recruitment of Terry, and it fell out of the race.
The other point guards the Hawkeyes are monitoring remain on the board. A quick breakdown of those guys ...
- Like Terry, Team USA rep Rocket Watts and Harlond Beverly (more of a combo guard) aren't realistic options, as other programs are pursuing those guys full-tilt.
- I've been told Iowa has started backing off Des Moines North product Tyreke Locure (while Minnesota has picked up its interest).
- Noah Hutchins is the guy to watch. He's a quick-thinking, three-star guard from Andrew Francis' home state of New York. He's got a bevy of low- to mid-major offers and one from Wake Forest, but there's a healthy amount of mutual interest with Iowa. The Hawkeyes plan to watch Hutchins plenty in July. If Carton commits elsewhere, I'd expect a quick offer for Hutchins. Perhaps a quick commitment, too.
- Iowa is also keeping an eye on (and has offered) Mario McKinney, a four-star combo guard from St. Louis. Theoretically, he and Carton could play on the court at the same time.
Has Iowa hurt their chances of getting Brock by recently taking a RB? — @CRoberts_22
@CRoberts_22 is referring to Mekhi Sargent, the Iowa Western All-American running back who has enrolled at Iowa.
Sargent was a talented junior college back — you have to be if you're going to set a single-season rushing record of 1,434 yards at Iowa Western. He held offers from Louisville and New Mexico State.
I was fortunate enough to watch Sargent play at this year's Graphic Edge Bowl at the UNI Dome. I was there to watch Daviyon Nixon, but I also came away impressed with Sargent, who piled up 151 yards in Iowa Western's dominant win over Northwest Mississippi Community College. He's a smaller back, but he packs a whole lot of punch and combines that with short-area quickness.
With all that said, no, Iowa did not hurt its chances of getting Illinois four-star running back Jirehl Brock by taking Sargent. The Hawkeyes need all the running back depth they can get right now. I pictured them taking two running backs in 2019 before the Sargent news, and I'd still project them taking two running backs in this class.
Sargent joining the depth chart won't scare off Brock or any other running back target for whom Iowa is in serious contention.
Speaking of Brock: The kid just picked up a Notre Dame offer. That's a big one, obviously. But from all my conversations with him, Brock clearly comes across as a prospect who values a bond with his coaches.
Brock has taken two official visits — to Northwestern and Minnesota. He's got his Iowa State official visit on June 18 and his Iowa official on June 22. Then, he'd still have one official visit remaining if he wanted to go check out South Bend.
One of Iowa's other top running back targets, North Gwinnett three-star Tyler Goodson, has set an announcement date for July 3. He's deciding between Iowa, West Virginia and Wake Forest.
By all accounts, Goodson and the Hawkeyes developed a strong relationship. So strong, in fact, that 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong recently predicted Goodson would pick Iowa.
When an analyst as well-regarded as Wiltfong makes a prediction this late in a prospect's recruitment, I'd say that's significant.
Over the past few months, it's become clear that the Hawkeyes' current top two running back targets are Brock and Goodson.
If they can land both, that would be quite the victory.
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 email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.