Breaking down Iowa's priority targets taking official visits this weekend

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

The Hawkeyes have made it clear they want another linebacker for its 2018 class, and they're hosting two priority targets this weekend. Here's a breakdown.

North Gwinnett High School's Jayden Mcdonald (8) tackles Colquitt High School quarterback Steven Krajewski (8) during a Class AAAAAAA football championship game, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017, in Suwanee, Georgia.

Jayden McDonald, OLB

Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 200 pounds

High school: North Gwinnett (Georgia)

Rivals: 3 stars, No. 46 OLB in 2018; 247Sports Composite: 3 stars, No. 46 OLB

Iowa's main competition: Kansas State and Ole Miss

Bottom line: McDonald is a highly athletic linebacker who thrives in the freedom a 4-3 defense provides. His high school film is full of his destructive pass rushes of the edge. And while Iowa doesn't blitz very much, it can still utilize McDonald's speed, power and strong safety-like range in a variety of ways — including pass defense, where his read-and-react skills make him look more like a defensive back than linebacker. Originally a Rutgers commit, McDonald reopened his recruitment this winter when Iowa, Ole Miss and Kansas State offered him. Those are considered the final three in contention. He visited Kansas State last weekend weekend and will visit Ole Miss next weekend (Feb. 2). Linebackers coach Seth Wallace has made a couple home visits, including one with Kirk Ferentz. McDonald's decision likely won't come until pretty close to Feb. 7.

James Miller, ILB

Height/weight: 6-2, 230

High school: Armwood (Florida)

Rivals: 3 stars, No. 35 ILB in 2018; 247Sports Composite: 3 stars, No. 32 ILB

Iowa's main competition: Florida State and Indiana

Bottom line: Miller had a prolific senior season at Armwood, piling up 163 tackles, 47 tackles for loss and 12 sacks. He's a physical, bruising tackler who fills his gaps correctly and can be a devastating force in rush defense. He boasts a truck of a body that will only get stronger in a college program, and he's quite agile for someone his size. Throughout his film, he uses quick bursts of speed to steamroll quarterbacks trying to scramble or wide receivers trying to make a screen pass work. Iowa has some history with Armwood, where former Hawkeyes Antwan Allen, Lance Tillison, Kalvin Bailey and Chris Brevi all played. Iowa offered Miller last January and recently re-identified him as a top target. Florida State just offered this week, though. That's a biggie for a Florida kid. Miller also visited Indiana last weekend.

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_.