Iowa lands No. 1 Illinois junior RB Ivory Kelly-Martin

Andy Hamilton
Iowa collected a commitment Monday night from Ivory Kelly-Martin.

Iowa set the foundation for its 2017 recruiting class with the trenches first, collecting commitments from three of its top defensive line targets and the state’s top two offensive linemen.

Now the Hawkeyes are going to work on building their backfield.

Iowa landed a commitment Monday night from the top-ranked junior running back in Illinois, and the Hawkeyes could be on the verge of adding another top tailback from Texas.

Ivory Kelly-Martin, ranked by multiple recruiting services as the No. 1 running back in Illinois, announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes on Twitter. He picked Iowa over offers from 13 other schools, including Arizona, Illinois and Wisconsin.

“I would like to thank all of the coaches whom I have met and spoken with throughout the recruitment process,” Kelly-Martin posted on Twitter. “You have all made positive and lasting impressions that I will remember and appreciate throughout my life. I would now like to announce that I have committed to continue my academic and athletic career at the University of Iowa. Go Hawkeye football!”

Kelly-Martin carried 190 times for 1,972 yards and 33 touchdowns last season while helping Nazareth Academy to the Class 5A title in Illinois. He ran for 170 yards on 13 carries and scored four touchdowns in the state championship game before transferring to Oswego East High School in January.

He is the eighth player to publicly announce his plans to join Iowa’s 2017 class, which was ranked 12th nationally by as of Monday night.

The Hawkeyes are also in the running for one of the top players in Texas. Eno Benjamin, a four-star running back who has reported more than 25 scholarship offers, posted Monday on Twitter that he will announce his commitment on April 18.

“Iowa is still my number one school,” Benjamin told last month after an unofficial visit to Iowa City. “They’ve shown they’re committed to me. For a month before Signing Day, they were at my school for four straight weeks, so that shows a lot.”