Kirk Ferentz visits 4-star DE John Waggoner; UCLA, Chip Kelly in the mix

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz was at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines on Wednesday to visit four-star defensive end John Waggoner, Maroons head coach Tom Wilson told the Register.

Dowling Catholic's John Waggoner (94) celebrates their 35-21 victory over Iowa City, West to win the 4A state championship at the UNI Dome on Friday, Nov. 17, 2017, in Cedar Falls.

Waggoner, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, is the state's top 2018 recruit, according to Rivals and the 247Sports Composite. He helped lead Dowling to a state-record fifth consecutive Class 4A title, with his 11 solo tackles for loss and five solo sacks this season.

Iowa and Iowa State are considered the front-runners for Waggoner, but Wilson also mentioned UCLA, Oregon and Minnesota as schools in the running.

"I didn’t think that UCLA was going to still be in the mix, as they’ve had a coaching change," Wilson said. "(But) honestly, I think a (coach like) Chip Kelly excites anybody."

Waggoner visited Iowa State for the Cy-Hawk game, and he visited Iowa for its win over Ohio State — the Buckeyes are one of 16 schools to extend an offer. That list includes Power Five juggernauts from all over the country, such as LSU, Penn State, Oklahoma and Florida.

Wilson said Waggoner's official visits are still being planned. He said no coaches other than Ferentz have come to Dowling to visit Waggoner recently.

The 247Sports Composite ranks Waggoner the No. 311 recruit in the Class of 2018. Rivals ranks him the class' No. 17 defensive end.

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.