Signing Day Live: Iowa caps off 2017 class by landing WR Smith-Marsette

Chris Cuellar, and Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY — Iowa is expecting at least 20 signed national letters of intent this morning, and Kirk Ferentz is going to address the media at 2:30 p.m. today.

It's National Signing Day, also known as football-recruiting Christmas. Here we go.

1:41 p.m. update: The Hawkeyes have announced the signing of New Jersey receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette. Put a bow on the 2017 signing class for Iowa.

1:12 p.m. update: Ihmir Smith-Marsette, come on down.

The 6-foot-2, 175-pound wide receiver from Newark, N.J., will become 22nd and likely final member of Iowa’s Class of 2017. Smith-Marsette tweeted out a video of his announcement.

He is the fourth scholarship receiver the Class of 2017, joining Max Cooper, Henry Marchese and Brandon Smith. Iowa also has a few preferred walk-ons coming aboard in junior-college all-American Nick Easley (a Newton native by way of Iowa Western) and former junior-hockey player Yale Van Dyne Jr. (of Stillwell, Kan.).

Smith-Marsette’s recruitment got zany down the stretch. He de-committed from Rutgers after taking an official visit to Iowa on the weekend of Jan. 20. The following weekend, he committed to Minnesota after a visit there.

Then early this week, he re-opened his recruitment again, and on Wednesday reportedly chose Iowa over Rutgers.

12:15 p.m. update: As the debut of Iowa's "Swarm17" plays on, it appears Kirk Ferentz's coaching staff is indeed trying to close their class at 22. That means one more addition and it just so happens that one top target will announce his commitment at 12:30. Ihmir Smith-Marsette hasn't been named yet on the program -- NCAA rules prohibit coaches from commenting on unsigned recruits throughout the process -- but could be before too long.

Consider it a mid-show surprise.

Ferentz told host and radio voice Gary Dolphin early in the program: "We're still awaiting one potential signee. We feel pretty good about that."

Stay tuned.

10 a.m. update: And ... time!

Iowa announced at 9:50 a.m. that it had received all 21 of its expected letters today, with Florida defensive back Josh Turner rounding out the class. The "late" run after 9 a.m. included Wisconsin wide receiver Max Cooper, Texas defensive back Matt Hankins and long-time Madrid commit Coy Kirkpatrick.

In a drama-free day, perhaps the most interesting reveal was Kirkpatrick's projected line switch. Recruited as a strong-side defensive end, the 6-4, 275-pound prospect is now expected to start out on the offensive line.

The only thing left to monitor closely in Iowa's 2017 class is the 12:30 p.m. decision of former Rutgers commit Ihmir Smith-Marsette. According to Rivals and Scout, the three-star athlete is supposed to announce his commitment and sign to either the Scarlet Knights or Hawkeyes. He briefly announced his commitment to Minnesota last weekend and would be signature No. 22 in this class for Iowa.

8:45 a.m. update: Surprise! (A good surprise for Iowa fans.)

Defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon, of Kenosha, Wis., delivered good news to Hawkeye football by sending in a national letter of intent this morning.

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound, three-star prospect had been committed to Northern Illinois and advertised that he would announce his decision at 4:30 p.m. today after visiting Iowa over the weekend.

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But once his letter hit UI compliance, the news was tweeted out. Nixon is officially a Hawkeye. That gives Iowa 21 men in the Class of 2017, with another possibility coming at 12:30 p.m. (scroll to the 7:30 update).

The Hawkeyes raided DeKalb, Ill., this week. Another flip from Northern Illinois, Iowa City High athlete Nate Wieland, sent his signed letter in. (Although he could've just driven it over.)

Other letters that have come in since our 8 a.m. update have come in from wide receivers Henry Marchese and Brandon Smith; P Ryan Gersonde; RB Ivory Kelly-Martin; and OL Mark Kallenberger.

By our count, that's 17 of 21 letters in house. At large: Madrid DE/OL Coy Kirkpatrick, Wisconsin WR Max Cooper, Texas CB Matt Hankins and Florida CB Josh Turner.

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8 a.m. update: Well, that escalated quickly.

The Hawkeyes already have 10 signed letters in-house. A lot of you have asked: Do they come in by fax? Some do. But most, I'm told, are now done via scan and e-mail. Sorry to disappoint.

Among the signings are eastern Iowans Jacob Coons (TE, Solon), Tristan Wirfs (OT, Mount Vernon) and Levi Duwa (DL, Mid-Prairie). It's easy to forget those guys, because they committed to Iowa so long ago. But now their long wait is over.

The 10 names that are in: Coons, Duwa, Wirfs, RB Kyshaun Bryan, CB Djimon Colbert, CB Trey Creamer (which Iowa is classifying as an "athlete"), DL A.J. Epenesa, CB Camron Harrell, QB Peyton Mansell and DB Geno Stone. That's half the class.

7:30 a.m. update: The first letter to make its way into the University of Iowa's compliance people is ...

Kyshaun Bryan.

Things happened quickly down the stretch for the 5-foot-10, 190-pound running back from St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He was initially a South Carolina commitment, but re-opened his recruitment late, visited Iowa over the weekend, and on Monday night announced he was choosing the Hawkeyes.

He's one of two running backs expected to join the class, the other being Oswego, Ill., product Ivory Kelly-Martin.

Also, Hawkeye fans had nothing to worry about with five-star defensive end A.J. Epenesa. His letter has been been signed and delivered to UI compliance. He is considered a top-30 recruit overall nationally.

In the stay-tuned department this morning. Iowa wide-receiver target Ihmir Smith-Marsette of Newark, N.J.,. has re-emerged as a possibility. He committed to Minnesota very recently, but suddenly has withdrawn his Gophers pledged and tell's's Blair Sanderson that he'll choose between Iowa and Rutgers today. (Just what you wanted: Signing-day drama. But this sounds like the gravy kind, not the bad kind.)

Here is a look at Iowa's expected class, for now.

APP USERS: Click here to view the Iowa recruiting database