Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: If Iowa basketball misses on Trayce Jackson-Davis, what's next?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

If any of you reading this are like me, you are way, way too into fantasy football.

I'm in two leagues this year — one with eight teams, one with 14. My opponent obliterated me in the eight-team league, so I'm over that.

But the other loss ... 109.04 to 107.16.

And if Todd Gurley scores from the 5-yard line on his rush with 3:19 left, I win. So, if there are any other pouting fantasy football losers out there, let's have a meeting or something. I'll bring ice cream.

Until then, welcome, once again, to the Hawkeye recruiting mailbag. Let's get to it.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is going through process of in-home visits.

Do you see Iowa as having a legit shot to land any of the 4 and 5 stars that are showing interest? — @SamuelPThompson

If we're talking about 2019 guys, let's start with five-star power forward Trayce Jackson-Davis.  Iowa is in his top four along with Indiana, Michigan State and UCLA. (Wake Forrest would be in fifth place.)

However ... the Hawkeyes are on the outside looking in, and their shot to land Jackson-Davis is quite slim. Michigan State is thought to be making a strong push and giving Indiana some worry — although Jackson-Davis made it clear to me he is not a lock to the Hoosiers.

"Coach (Tom) Izzo, they’ve been recruiting me pretty long, too. I like coach Izzo a lot," he told me of Michigan State. "He’s a Hall of Fame coach. I think that they’re going to push me. If I went there, they would push me to be the greatest player I could be. Anywhere is going to do that, but coach Izzo is like on a different level with that kind of stuff. He’ll get into you. I think that could be good for me."

Trayce Jackson-Davis of Center Grove.

I wouldn't rule out UCLA just yet, either. Jackson-Davis was impressed with his visit to Westwood, particularly with how Hoosier legend Steve Alford plans to get him to the NBA.

Jackson-Davis also enjoyed his visit to Iowa. But there was never any doubt he would. The Hawkeyes have always had a strong relationship with Jackson-Davis.

But Indiana, UCLA and Michigan State had better success last year and present a better chance at a national championship. And, at least recently, they have a stronger track record with sending bigs to the NBA. In those departments, they've got the edge over Iowa.

The only other truly elite 2019 guy Iowa has been involved with is Keion Brooks. He took an unofficial to Iowa in June and recently said he'd release a top six soon. 

But this race is pretty much down to Michigan State, Indiana, Kentucky, UCLA and North Carolina, with Purdue and Georgetown hanging around.

As it's still early in their recruitments, there are lots of elite 2020 guys interested in Iowa.

Oskaloosa five-star forward Xavier Foster took an official visit to Iowa last weekend, and his dad and high school coach told me Iowa will be in to see him on Wednesday. USC will be there, too, and UCLA is coming in on Sept. 18. Michigan and other schools are still in the process of scheduling times to come out to Oskaloosa and see Foster, his high school coach said.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Both Iowa and Iowa State will contend for Foster, who holds a Kansas offer, until the very end.

Five-star 2020 forward Xavier Foster gets set for a free throw attempt at the Fab 48 in Las Vegas.

I don't think five-star, top-five combo guard Jalen Suggs is a realistic target. The only exception is if he truly wants to try being a two-sport athlete in college, in which case Iowa can offer a pretty enticing option.

Four-star Chicago point guard Tyler Beard is an interesting prospect. I've been very clear about how much I like this kid's defense. He just picked up an offer from Press Virginia — excuse me, West Virginia. Iowa was his first high-major offer, and Sherman Dillard is a respected name in Chicago.

Desmond Polk has been one of my favorite 2020 guards since I saw him in April. In one particular game I watched, I don't think he missed any of his 3-pointers; Dillard was at that game, too. And, wouldn't you know it: Iowa offered Polk this week. He's got other high-major offers from Iowa State, Georgia Tech and Kansas State.

Four-star Ohio point guard Zeb Jackson has become one of the top 2020 targets for both Iowa and Iowa State. The Cyclones were in to watch him this week, and the Hawkeyes were a regular presence at his games in July. Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, Illinois, Xavier, Wisconsin, Virginia and Vanderbilt have offered, too.

Is the 2019 Iowa basketball recruiting class looking to add more than two commits? If so, who else? — @wespowell333

So far, Iowa has Patrick McCaffery and Joe Toussaint for its 2019 class. If it doesn't land Jackson-Davis, no, it won't be in any rush to add a third 2019 recruit.

I was told by someone with direct knowledge of Iowa's thinking that there are no specific plans either way with regards to that third scholarship if Jackson-Davis commits elsewhere — just that they'll use the scholarship in a way that will best help the team.

Here's how I interpret that: The coaches are in no hurry, are not actively searching for a third player and would be fine pocketing the scholarship for the 2020 class — after what they hope is a much better performance on the court in 2018-19. But, at the same time, they'll keep their eyes open to all options if a player pops up on their radar this season.

They've got some flexibility here.

Do you think the Cy-Hawk outcomes have any impact on in state recruits? And if yes how much? — @TedFlintKansas

Yes and no.

I think an Iowa State win would help the Cyclones more than an Iowa win helps the Hawkeyes. Because, in the grand scheme of the Cy-Hawk rivalry, Iowa has the edge. That is reflected in the in-state recruiting. Usually, Iowa's in-state classes are better than Iowa State's.

Sure, there are some exceptions. Like positions, for instance — Iowa State and its spread, Big 12 offense has an edge with in-state receivers (e.g. Darien Porter). Or, if there's a family tie like with freshman defensive end Zach Petersen.

Bettendorf wide receiver Darien Porter (10) attempts to catch a pass in the end zone during a 4A varsity football game on Friday, Aug. 31, 2018, at TouVelle Stadium in Bettendorf.

But, on average, I'd argue Iowa has the head-to-head advantage over Iowa State with in-state prospects. And part of that is thanks to the Hawkeyes' tradition of beating the Cyclones.

So, I don't think this year's 13-3 result will have much, if any, impact directly. It doesn't change anything. It doesn't move the needle.

Now, if Iowa State rips off a few wins in a row? That could send a message to future recruits the schools battle for. That could affect the balance of recruiting power in this state.

Who recruits Iowa football in Minnesota? Couple nice recruits up there. — @TheeJustinM

In basketball, coaches often have regions that they, more often than not, handle. For instance: Iowa assistant coach Sherman Dillard is the point man for Chicago and St. Louis, whereas Andrew Francis is the main guy for New York and Indianapolis.

It's a little different in football. While the Hawkeyes do have main recruiters for certain areas (Tim Polasek for Wisconsin, Kelvin Bell for Indianapolis, LeVar Woods for St. Louis, Derrick Foster for Alabama and Georgia, Kelton Copeland for Florida), much of football recruiting also boils down to position.

Let's put it this way: Iowa won't fully pursue an offensive lineman unless Polasek can get eyes on him, or a running back until Foster can see him and so forth.

That's a long way of saying, yes, there are several Hawkeye targets in Minnesota, but there isn't just one coach recruiting them.

Iowa has four offers out to uncommitted 2020 Minnesota products, after sending out one offer to that state for 2019.

Jalen Suggs is a four-star dual-threat quarterback out of Minneapolis; he's more known as a five-star combo guard in basketball, though, and Iowa already has its 2020 signal-caller in Deuce Hogan. Iowa could recruit him as an athlete. He'll most likely play basketball for a blue-blood.

Aaron Witt is a three-star defensive end out of Winona. He also holds offers from Minnesota and Iowa State.

Kaden Johnson is a four-star linebacker and high school teammates with Suggs. Iowa State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern and Wisconsin have also offered.

Craig McDonald is a three-star safety who's also teammates with Suggs and Johnson. He holds one other offer from Iowa State.

(If one of Suggs, Johnson or McDonald sets up an unofficial to Iowa, there's a good chance all three visit.)

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 and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.