Five top early Hawkeye football targets

Chris Cuellar

Saturday started the spring recruiting race nationwide as the NCAA calendar flipped to a live evaluation period. While it may seem too early to speculate over 2018 and 2019 prospects, the Hawkeyes have been preparing these plans for months.

Since the 2017 class is already signed and slated for a summer introduction to Iowa City, let’s look ahead to underclassmen with Iowa offers and interest.

Here’s a brief rundown of five young talents – four 2018 and one 2019 – the Hawkeyes are targeting early in the recruiting process:

Tyrone Tracy Jr., ATH, Indianapolis, Ind.

Tyrone Tracy Jr. (11) is expected to be a four-year varsity player for Decatur Central in Indianapolis and is a top 2018 target for the Hawkeyes.

The Decatur Central product is expected to be a four-year varsity player, and the Hawkeyes like the flexibility his athleticism offers as a running back, slot receiver or defensive back. A three-star prospect, Tracy has more than a dozen FBS offers, including Cincinnati, Illinois, Louisville and Northwestern. He was credited with more than 100 all-purpose yards per game as a junior in Indiana’s Class 5A. Tracy already visited Iowa City earlier this month and told Rivals site Hawkeye Report an early commitment was possible.

Tyler Linderbaum, DT, Solon

The Hawkeyes have had tremendous success recruiting from the suburban powerhouse north of Iowa City, and Linderbaum looks like the next logical prospect. An explosive 6-foot-2, 255-pound lineman, he projects to defensive tackle. Linderbaum finished second on the Class 3A squad in tackles last season, recording 42.5 total stops with three sacks, and he’s also a heavyweight state place-winner in wrestling. His other offers have come from Iowa State and Minnesota State.

Solon's Tyler Linderbaum  (middle) tackles Regina's Isaac Vollstedt during their game at Regina on Friday, Sept. 2, 2016.

Elijah Collins, RB/LB, Detroit, Mich.

University of Detroit Jesuit has been an Iowa recruiting hot spot recently. Collins responded by including the Hawkeyes among his top four choices in an interview with Scout last week. The athletic three-star is six feet tall and 195 pounds, and was a standout at Nike’s Opening Regional in Cleveland, placing ninth overall and showing off a 40-yard dash of 4.66. Major offers are swarming with Michigan State and Minnesota looking like Iowa’s top competition.

Noah Shannon, DT, Oswego, Ill.

Iowa was the first FBS school to offer this 6-2, 285-pound defensive tackle. Shannon has since blown up, with Arkansas, Missouri and Virginia getting involved in what is usually fertile Hawkeye recruiting soil. The three-star plays a position of need, but could take his time deciding due to a growing number of options. Rivals rates him as the No. 32 defensive tackle in the country.

Ezra Miller, OT, Holstein

The lone 2019 prospect on this list looks like an elite talent out of Class A in northwest Iowa. Miller is a 6-6, 290-pound sophomore and already rated in the national top 100 by 247 Sports. A four-star offensive tackle, Miller has already fielded offers from Iowa and Iowa State. That list could grow rapidly unless he makes an early recruiting decision like many high-upside players in his area have done in the past. Norwalk’s Tyler Endres is another blue-chip offensive lineman in this class with Iowa and Iowa State offers. He and Miller could be quite a haul if they ultimately decide to commit from in-state to the same place.