In front of a large gathering at Solon High School, Hawkeyes commit Tyler Linderbaum was honored for his U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection. Dargan Southard/HawkCentral
SOLON, Ia. — The Solon band bellowed with excitement as fellow Spartans continued to pile into the school’s vast auditorium. Many family and friends were there, too. Everyone in the community wanted to see one of the own honored.
In front of a packed house Friday afternoon before Solon’s playoff opener against Decorah, Spartans defensive tackle and Hawkeyes commit Tyler Linderbaum was honored for his U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection, which was made official Monday.
The ceremony included a jersey presentation and awards given to Linderbaum’s parents and Solon football coach Kevin Miller, as well remarks from officers and U.S. Army Bowl representatives.
“It means a lot, and it’s awesome that I get to represent my community at this Army Bowl,” Linderbaum said. “It’s going to be a great time.
“I guess it surprised me. Kid from (Class) 3A in Iowa, I didn’t know if I’d make it to that, especially this prestigious of a bowl. But it’s awesome, and I can’t wait to play.”
Linderbaum’s versatility and quickness has pushed him into the upper echelon of the state’s 2018 class. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound senior is a four-star prospect and is considered as the top recruit in Iowa, according to 247Sports. The website also ranks Linderbaum as the nation’s No. 18 defensive tackle and No. 187 overall prospect in the 2018 class.
As part of a relentless Solon defense that’s yielded just 21 points all season, Linderbaum has racked up 23.5 tackles, two solo tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries in 2017.
"We knew as a sophomore that he had some pretty special qualities, but he’s never rested on his laurels," Miller said. "He’s continued to develop himself in the offseason as a multisport athlete. He’s just a true competitor and he hates to lose. He is a fighter. That along with having a high motor, and he’s tough. Iowa’s getting the total package without question.”
Linderbaum’s selection marks the second straight year an Iowa commit and an Iowa City-area prospect has been invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which will be played Jan. 6, 2018, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. Current Hawkeyes A.J. Epenesa and Tristan Wirfs were selected last year, along with former Iowa City West-turned-Michigan wide receiver Oliver Martin.
Prospects from the state of Iowa don’t always get the national attention as those from recruiting hotbeds. Linderbaum is excited for the chance to hold his own
“That’s exactly what this is for, from my perspective,” he said. “Just to get a look at where I stand against all those other good guys. It’s just going to be great competition down there, and I look forward to it.”
The athletic big man is saying home; he'll be a Hawkeye football player upon graduation.
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.