Hawkeyes flip Kent State safety, secure scholarship punter

Chris Cuellar

The Hawkeyes are flipping their way to Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

Pennsylvania native Geno Stone became Iowa’s fourth commitment in the span of 24 hours Tuesday, with all four dropping their previous verbal pledges to join the 2017 class in Iowa City.

Stone is a three-star safety prospect and had committed to Kent State in December.

Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz celebrates with members of his team after a touchdown against Iowa State on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2016, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City.

The 5-foot-11, 190-pound senior had more than 20 Division I scholarship offers, but Iowa became his first Power 5 offer last week. He rushed to visit Iowa City last weekend and announced his commitment switch on Tuesday afternoon.

“I want to thank the staff at Kent State for everything,” Stone posted to Twitter on Monday. “But after talking with my family and friends, I decided it’s the best thing for me to decommit from Kent State and pursue my dreams at the University of Iowa!”

Stone played quarterback and safety as a senior, leading New Castle to Pennsylvania’s Class 4A regional final. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he scored five touchdowns and intercepted three passes in the regional semifinal.

“If this isn’t a Power 5 football player, I don’t know anything about football,” New Castle head coach Joe Cowart told the Post-Gazette. “He’s flat-out one of the best players in the state of Pennsylvania, if not the best. He’s that good.”

Stone is considered a prized prospect off the field, as well. A handful of his offers have come from the Ivy League, including Harvard and Yale.

Three recruits committed to Iowa on Monday: athlete Nate Wieland (formerly to Northern Illinois), defensive back Trey Creamer (Minnesota) and running back Kyshaun Bryan (South Carolina).

Stone is the sixth overall defensive back to commit to Iowa’s 2017 class and the second safety prospect.

Punter offer pays off

Iowa extended a rare scholarship offer to a punting prospect last week and it pulled through on Tuesday night as Ryan Gersonde accepted and announced his commitment.

A 6-foot-4 lefty from Milwaukee, Wis., Gersonde is rated as the No. 9 punter in the nation according to Kohl’s Kicking. Gersonde is expected to be the only scholarship punter on Iowa’s 2017 roster.