Hawkeye film room: 4-star DB Julius Brents has tools for success at safety or cornerback
Julius Brents, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back from Indianapolis, will sign his letter of intent with Iowa during this week's early signing period.
A Hawkeye pledge since September, Brents picked Iowa over offers from Michigan State, Indiana, North Carolina State and Louisville, among others. The Warren Central product is a sure tackler with a 39.2-inch vertical, according to his Hudl profile.
Rivals gives Brents four stars, ranks him as the No. 31 safety in the 2018 class and the No. 4 prospect in Indiana. The 247Sports Composite gives him three stars and also ranks him fourth among Indiana prospects.
He projects as a cornerback or safety.
Let's see what makes Brents stand out in this Hawkeye film room session.
As a safety ... his physicality shines through: Right now Brents is a rangy athlete. But once he gets into Chris Doyle's strength program, he'll be an enticing option at strong safety. He takes great angles to the ball, and he's an aggressive, efficient tackler, especially in rush defense. His speed doesn't jump out at you, but his acceleration and closing speed certainly do. Combine that with his long arms, and you've got a prospect with quite the tackle radius. Pay attention at the 3:40 mark of his film: Brents closes in on the ball-carrier from his safety position, shows good balance (despite the back's attempted cut) and fully extends for a wrap-up tackle. Watch at the 4:10 mark, too: Brents quickly accelerates from his safety position to swallow up a running back dashing outside.
As a cornerback ... his one-on-one abilities shines through: Brents displays plus ball skills and fluid hips in man coverage. The physicality that makes him so good at safety works at corner, too. He's a daunting matchup for receivers in press coverage, and he's effective with the bump-and-run. His vertical also helpsfor jump balls. His best play at corner comes at the 3:10 mark: As his man runs a 10-yard curl route, Brents stops on a dime, twists his hips and changes direction in a heartbeat, and he closes in with his long arms to break up the pass. You can see another example of his sure tackling and closing speed at the 1:35 mark, when he blows up a receiver screen in the backfield.
We'll have to wait and see which position Brents winds up at with Iowa. He certainly has the makings for success at either. And he's got the ball-hawk and tackling skills to see some special teams reps right away.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.