Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: Will Joe Toussaint make an immediate impact at Iowa?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

Let's talk about Anthony Coleman real quick.

Iowa 2019 point guard target Joe Toussaint plays a game with PSA Cardinals at the Las Vegas Classic.

I was in Johnson last Friday to watch the Dragons host Cedar Rapids Prairie — specifically, to watch Prairie 2019 running back Keegan Simmons, one of the state's top uncommitted seniors who has interest from Iowa.

But Coleman, Johnston's star 2019 cornerback/receiver, impressed the most. He snagged two interceptions and added a 76-yard catch-and-run touchdown. An unrated prospect, Coleman is committed to North Dakota State as a cornerback. 

Several factors kept Coleman's recruiting stock from rising more. An injury kept him out for much his junior year. He's also 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds. No matter how skilled you are, it's really, really hard to get FBS offers at that size.

He's got FBS speed, though, and the hands of a receiver. His defensive instincts are sound, and he acts quickly on them.

The Bison are getting a potential under-the-radar gem in Coleman. I look forward to watching his college career unfold.

And now, without further ado, let's get on with the Hawkeye recruiting mailbag. 

Could Joe Toussaint make an immediate impact for the Hawks? — @BenFlaherty21

I don't think there's any question Joe Toussaint, Iowa's three-star 2019 point guard recruit, will make an immediate impact. That was the whole reason Fran McCaffery recruited a point guard for this class. He wants someone to help run the show with Connor McCaffery and allow Jordan Bohannon to play more off the ball.

That was part of Fran McCaffery's recruiting pitch to Toussaint and his circle, his high school coach Joseph Lods told me this week.

"(McCaffery) said, 'It helps me a lot if Toussaint can get in the lane and kick it out to Bohannon,'" Lods said. "He said, 'I need him to come in right now and play right away.'"

(Of course, a college coach's recruiting pitch doesn't always wind up 100 percent accurate to what pans out. But this one sounds about right.)

So, like I said, it's not really a question of whether Toussaint makes an immediate impact. The question is: How significant an impact will he make?

Does Toussaint start from Day 1?

Does Connor McCaffery start with Toussaint coming off the bench?

Does Bohannon still get minutes at the point and figure into the rotation?

Those answers obviously don't exist yet. We'll know a lot more about Connor's development this season a get a sense of whether he's ready to be a starting Big Ten point guard. We'll also get a better sense of how much Fran McCaffery plays Bohannon off the ball with another capable ball-handling and play-making guard on the roster.

I have only seen Toussaint play one game — against Malik Hall and MOKAN Elite this summer in Las Vegas. Toussaint's grit and effort stood out. He was 100 percent, full go, all the time. You obviously need more than that to succeed in the Big Ten, but toughness translates.

That kind of toughness makes sense from a kid who grew up playing on the playgrounds of the South Bronx, in the shadow of Yankee Stadium.

"Joe’s always the same," Lods said. "He just does his work and goes about his business. Not a lot of highs and lows with Joe."

What chance do you think Iowa has to land (Chester) Graves? Could you imagine him, Epenesa & Anthony Nelson together next year? — @crandall_tyson

First question: There's very little concrete about Chester Graves' recruitment right now. It's anyone's guess as to a school's chance with the Iowa Western linebacker/defensive end, who's considered the top 2019 junior college prospect in the country.

When I talked to him earlier this month, I spoke to a guy who isn't thinking one iota about recruitment. He told me he didn't even know which schools had offered him.

(Spoiler: A lot have.)

"I’m just playing football, man," Graves said. "I’m not worried about that."

Iowa Western linebacker Chester Graves (4) is the country's top junior college prospect, according to 247Sports.

From what I can tell, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, TCU, Colorado, Oklahoma State, Houston, Southern Mississippi, Arizona, Kentucky and Florida Atlantic have offered.

That doesn't mean all those schools are actively recruiting Graves. For one thing, he cares so little about recruitment that there's not much coaches can do to recruit him, other than offer and check in with Iowa Western head coach Scott Strohmeier. Graves also won't graduate until May, so schools that want to fill their needs by the early signing period will pursue other targets. That means Graves will probably pick up more offers during spring ball, too, when teams get a better sense of their 2019 roster and might re-evaluate needs. 

In terms of Iowa, all I know is that Strohmeier told me the Hawkeyes were recruiting Graves. Again: What that means at this point is hard to tell. Graves is a mystery man.

Now, for your second question: Yeah, I can imagine A.J. Epenesa, Anthony Nelson and Graves together on a defense. That would be quite the combination. Graves, originally from Kansas City (and recruited by Iowa out of high school), is the real deal. Watch the video and you'll see a couple of his highlights.

Who do you see rounding out the Hawkeyes' 2019 (football) class? — @JoshBlock2

Starting with Iowa's current offers ... 

I don't see David Bell picking Iowa. So, if the Hawkeyes do want a second receiver in 2019, it'll likely be somebody they haven't offered yet.

Warren Central senior receiver David Bell.

I would think Iowa lands one of its three defensive end targets in Georgia three-star Tomari Fox (the Hawkeyes are still positioned well here), Illinois three-star Keith Randolph and Iowa Western three-star Malcolm Lee.

Lee is the mostly likely instant-impact option. He told me on Tuesday that he hasn't scheduled any official visits yet; he wants to get those done in November and choose between Iowa, Texas, Houston, Central Florida and Kansas State.

Iowa Western defensive end Malcolm Lee is one of the country's top junior college football prospects.

At linebacker, it's hard to project Graves anywhere right now. (He could also play defensive end in college.) Kuony Deng, a high-profile Kansas juco linebacker Iowa offered, just released a top five and Iowa wasn't included. If Iowa adds another linebacker, it'll likely be somebody it hasn't offered.

Don't be surprised if Iowa adds another safety. It offered Georgia three-star Jamel Starks in late September. Although, something to note: Starks has said he'll probably wait to make a decision until February.

We'll see if Iowa winds up offering Iowa Western defensive tackle Atlias Bell, a former Dowling Catholic standout who reports interest from Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Washington State, among others.

A couple athletes Iowa has offered haven't made decisions yet: Da'Shaun Brown, a three-star prospect out of Racine, Wisconsin, and Kobe Myers, another three-star prospect out of Waterford, Michigan. Brown plays quarterback and safety in high school; Myers is likely a college linebacker.

So, long story short: Of Iowa's current offers, I'd guess it lands one defensive end. That means the rest of its 2019 class would come from either guys they haven't offered yet, or guys they'd rekindle relationships with.

Make an 8-man team from the Hawkeyes' roster. Everyone has to play both sides of the ball. — @davidscrivner

David is back with the fire questions this week.

When it comes to 8-player football, speed is king. There's more space to work with, and quick legs provide an even greater advantage than in traditional 11-player. 

I'll run a 3-3-2 defense, because there's not a whole lot of passing in 8-player.

OK. So, Riley Moss is quarterback and a defensive back. (Remember, speed rules.) Ivory Kelly-Martin is running back and a linebacker. Brandon Smith will be a receiver and a defensive back. Noah Fant will be a receiver/tight end and a (large) linebacker. Djimon Colbert will be another receiver/tight end and linebacker, because I'll need an actual linebacker out there.

Now for three down linemen to play both ways. One will be Epenesa. Then let's pick Keegan Render to be center and nose tackle. And I'll need another athlete on the other side ... let's go with Anthony Nelson. He'd be a good left tackle, too.

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@dmreg.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.