Hawkeyes, Cyclones LB prospect Coal Flansburg discusses early phases of recruitment. MATTHEW BAIN/THE REGISTER
SOLON, Ia. — Kevin Miller has been the head coach at Solon for 17 years. He knows what good defenses look like, having overseen some of the state’s best in that stretch — including the No. 1 unit this year.
Miller also knows what a good linebacker looks like. He coached former Hawkeye great James Morris, and he’s particularly high on one of his current linebackers: junior Coal Flansburg, who has developed into a 2019 prospect to watch this fall.
"Obviously, he looks the part right now,” Miller said of Flansburg, who checks in at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds. "And certainly he plays very aggressive and tough and physical. He’s just your prototype middle linebacker."
Flansburg entered Week 9 with 27.5 tackles, three interceptions and two pick-sixes.
Iowa and Iowa State have noticed. Flansburg has already gone to Kinnick Stadium for a Hawkeye game-day visit, and he’ll visit the Cyclones when they host TCU Oct. 28.
Iowa has come to watch Flansburg this season, Miller said. Division II Minnesota State-Mankato has expressed interest, too.
Flansburg participated in Iowa, Iowa State and Northern Illinois camps last summer. He said he’ll go the those three plus "probably a couple more" this summer to build interest.
There’s been no talk of scholarships yet with the Hawkeyes or Cyclones. That could change with a big summer and fall of 2018.
For now, HawkCentral watched Flansburg Friday night. Here’s what we saw from the "prototype middle linebacker."
It might seem trivial, but ...
You can see this in all the videos: Flansburg’s stance is about as pretty as it gets with high school linebackers. He’s not bent over at the back; he’s bent at the hips. He keeps his chest "big" — facing in front of him, not down — with his hands free and ready. This way, he doesn’t have to waste time standing up when he drops back into coverage. He’s already in a position that allows him to drop back or attack downhill immediately.
Flansburg is certainly a hard hitter. Pay particular attention to the second and third clips in this video. In the second, you’ll see Flansburg blow through a lineman and stuff the opposing running back in the backfield. In the third, you’ll see Flansburg easily penetrate the line, catch the scrambling quarterback and swing him down to the ground with his right arm.
Hawkeyes and Cyclones linebacker prospect Coal Flansburg flashes impressive tackling power. MATTHEW BAIN/THE REGISTER
Flansburg also flashed some impressive, downhill speed for a 6-2, 230-pound guy — the kind of speed you’d expect from a budding Division-I prospect. As Flansburg says, his goal is "just playing fast, playing downhill, playing extremely physical." In this video, you see him sprint from his regular position to the backfield to assist on a tackle for loss. He covers 6 yards in three paces.
Hawkeyes, Cyclones LB prospect Coal Flansburg shows strong speed to get to backfield. MATTHEW BAIN/THE REGISTER
Solon’s opponent, Fairfield, passed very little. But when it did, Flansburg did a fine job dropping back into coverage. (His stance and first step certainly helped.) The only time his man was targeted, Flansburg nearly intercepted the pass.
Hawkeyes, Cyclones LB prospect Coal Flansburg nearly intercepts pass.
Matthew Bain covers preps, recruiting and the Hawkeyes for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewBain_.