Iowa entered the picture last summer before the scholarship offers rushed in, before college bluebloods joined the race and before the four-star ratings and top-100 national rankings were attached to A.J. Epenesa and Isaiah Pryor.
Now the Hawkeyes have company in the recruiting derby for two of the top players in the Class of 2017. A whole lot of company.
Rivals.com released its top 100 list Monday for the 2017 class and Epenesa and Pryor — whose fathers both played for Iowa — are near the top.
Epenesa, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound defensive end from Edwardsville, Ill., is ranked the No. 23 player nationally. Pryor, a 6-2, 191-pound defensive back from Lawrenceville, Ga., checked in at No. 57 on the list.
Richard Pryor came to Iowa as a prized recruiting catch for Hayden Fry's staff, who beat Nebraska and Notre Dame for the 1983 USA Today high school All-America defensive end from New Jersey.
Epenesa Epenesa played two seasons at Iowa Wesleyan before transferring to Iowa, where he lettered in 1997 as a defensive lineman.
His son's list of scholarship offers includes Florida State, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Tennessee. A.J. Epenesa is ranked No. 2 in the country also by 247Sports.com, which has him as an Iowa lean.
Isaiah Pryor's profile lists 35 scholarship offers, including Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Pryor is No. 26 by 247Sports.com and is also considered an Ohio State lean by the recruiting website.
In all, 11 players in the top 100 have reported an offer from the Hawkeyes, including the top quarterback, Hunter Johnson, who plays at Brownsburg (Ind.) High School with 2016 Iowa running back commit Toks Akinribade.