Recruiting news: Heralded lineman picks Hawkeyes over Alabama, Ohio State

By Pat Harty

Original publish date: July 31, 2014

For Kirk Ferentz and his Iowa football coaching staff, persistence has finally paid off in recruiting, with help from some brotherly love.

The Hawkeyes broke a recent stretch of near-misses in recruiting by landing three-star center James Daniels, who is the younger brother of Iowa sophomore running back LeShun Daniels.

A native of Warren, Ohio, James Daniels announced his decision to attend Iowa on Thursday morning during a press conference at his high school. He picked the Hawkeyes over Ohio State and Alabama.

James Daniels also made the rare decision for an Ohio native of choosing Iowa despite having a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes. He now will be reunited as a teammate with his older brother LeShun, who rushed for 142 yards last season while appearing in seven games for the Hawkeyes.

Their father, LeShun Daniels, was a three-year starter for Ohio State at offensive guard from 1994-96.

James Daniels is the 14th player to commit to Iowa's 2015 recruiting class. All known recruits are high school seniors-to-be.

His commitment comes after a stretch in which Iowa has lost two heralded defensive recruits to Ohio State, along with three running back recruits from three different schools, including Iowa State.

Texas running back Devine Ozigbo committed to Iowa State over Iowa and Boise State earlier in July.

Iowa's family connection wasn't enough to entice four-star linebacker Justin Hilliard, who is from Cincinnati, to commit to the Hawkeyes over Ohio State. Hilliard is the younger brother of incoming Iowa freshman running back C.J. Hilliard.

Justin Hilliard committed to Ohio State on the same day in July as four-star defensive end Jashon Cornell, who also had Iowa among his top schools.

James Daniels could have a chance for early playing time, considering Iowa's starting center, Austin Blythe, will be a senior when he joins the team next season.

Restocking the offensive line was a priority for Iowa's 2015 recruiting class. Daniels is the fifth offensive lineman to commit to Iowa's Class of 2015 and the first from out of state.

Daniels could have a chance for early playing time considering Iowa's current starting center, Austin Blythe, is a junior. The Hawkeyes also have two seniors, including all-Big Ten left tackle Brandon Scherff, and another junior starting on the 2014 offensive line.

NCAA rules prohibit college coaches from commenting publicly on a specific recruit before the recruit has signed a national letter of intent. The national signing period for football will start on the first Wednesday in February.