Iowa football: Position-by-position breakdown of the top 2019 targets on offense

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — Remember last Wednesday? When the Iowa Hawkeyes wrapped up their 23-person recruiting class for 2018 by signing Jayden McDonald, Logan Klemp and Kaevon Merriweather? When a long year of work for coaches finally came to fruition?

Warren Central receiver David Bell looks for space in the Warriors' one-point loss to Louisville Trinity (Ky.)

Yeah ... those three minutes of celebration for the coaching staff must have been nice.

But, oh, how quickly the page turns to 2019.

This will be the most unique college football recruiting cycle to date, as juniors are now able to take official visits in the spring. Every junior prospect the Register has spoken to said they either will take or are considering taking official visits this spring.

Recruiting coordinator Kelvin Bell told the Register in December that Iowa would try to get official visits set up for this spring. But last Wednesday, head coach Kirk Ferentz said they hadn't yet decided if they will host official visitors during the spring.

We'll see what happens there.

For now, here are Iowa's current top 2019 targets on offense, broken down by two prospects at each position. These will, of course, change as the recruiting cycle wears on. But if the Hawkeyes get the guys on the list, they'll be thrilled.

We'll break down the targets on defense tomorrow.


Lewis Central quarterback Max Duggan throws a pass against Ankeny Centennial at Ankeny Stadium.

Max Duggan

Lewis Central

6-foot-2, 190 pounds

Rivals: 4 stars; 247Sports Composite: 4 stars

Bottom line: Iowa will be a hard sell for an elite 2019 quarterback, as the Hawkeyes already have their quarterback of the present (Nate Stanley) and likely of the future (Spencer Petras). Still, Duggan has become one of the country's most sought-after quarterbacks, and Iowa will do everything it can to keep him in the state. He's up to 23 offers now, including from Ohio State. This would be a major statement recruit for Ferentz's staff. 

Taisun Phommachanh

Avon Old Farms (Bridgeport, Connecticut)

6-3, 195

Rivals: 3 stars; 247Sports Composite: 4 stars

Bottom line: Phommachanh plays for the same academy as Iowa early-enrollee wide receiver Nico Ragaini. Quarterback coach Ken O'Keefe's east coast ties helped the Hawkeyes land Ragaini, and they're hoping the same for Phommachanh, who also holds offers from Florida State and Penn State. He and Duggan have Iowa's only 2019 quarterback offers thus far. Iowa wants to get Phommachanh on campus.

Running back

Avon's Sampson James had early success against Ben Davis last time the two teams faced each other. But the Giants got the last laugh.

Sampson James

Avon (Avon, Indiana)

6-1, 205

Rivals: 4 stars; 247Sports Composite: 4 stars

Bottom line: James is a little bit more of a reach, as Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan have offered since late November. But Iowa, which was James' fourth offer in October, isn't going to give up — especially since Avon is a suburb of Indianapolis, where Bell and the Hawkeyes have enjoyed big success. 

Jirehl Brock

Quincy (Quincy, Illinois)

6-0, 200

Rivals: 3 stars; 247Sports Composite: 4 stars

Bottom line: Iowa was the first to offer Brock after his breakout sophomore season. Since then, Missouri, Michigan State, Iowa State, Illinois, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Indiana, Purdue and Western Michigan have entered the fray, and more programs likely will soon. Brock has visited Iowa City twice and coaches have come by to see him multiple times. Most recently, Kirk Ferentz watched his basketball game Jan. 26 (along with Matt Campbell). The Hawkeyes are hoping their early-developing relationship will pay off. Brock is right near the top of Iowa's 2019 board. He's top tier among Midwest running backs, and he's just two hours south.

Wide receiver

Warren Central's David Bell is a big play waiting to happen.

David Bell

Warren Central (Indianapolis, Indiana)

6-2, 180

Rivals: 4 stars; 247Sports Composite: 4 stars

Bottom line: Here's another guy near the top of the board. Teammates with Iowa 2018 signee Julius Brents, Bell has been a Hawkeye priority since last October. The 247Sports Composite ranks him the No. 12 receiver and No. 71 prospect overall for 2019. Bell also holds offers from Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State, among others, but Iowa is in good standing here. Expect an all-out courtship. Wide receiver is routinely a position of need for Iowa, and Bell, who has visited Iowa, would be a standout recruit.

Maurice Massey

6-3, 180

Rivals: 3 stars; 247Sports Composite: 3 stars

Bottom line: Massey's recruitment is interesting. The Hawkeyes were his first offer, and he's part of a loaded 2019 St. Louis class that Iowa is trying to tap into. He committed to Iowa State in December and is still a firm verbal pledge, he told the Register, despite sending out a since-deleted decommitment tweet Jan. 31. A verbal pledge won't stop Iowa from pursuing Massey, though. It likes him too much.

Tight end

Iowa already has one 2019 tight end commitment in Logan Lee, a three-star prospect out of Orion, Illinois.

Chris Hickman

Burke (Omaha, Nebraska)

6-6, 195

Rivals: 3 stars; 247Sports: 3 stars

Bottom line: The last Iowa tight end recruit from Omaha was Noah Fant, and Hickman, the 247Sports Composite's No. 9 tight end in 2019, has drawn comparisons to the current Hawkeye. Hickman is one of two priority targets from Burke, along with linebacker Nick Henrich. Reese Morgan has taken the point on the Burke prospects' recruitment, and Iowa has had a regular presence on campus. Iowa offered Hickman after Iowa State, Ole Miss and Kansas State. Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin have also extended offers.

Joel DeCoursey

Zionsville (Zionsville, Indiana)

6-3, 220

Rivals: Unrated; 247Sports Composite: Unrated

Bottom line: Iowa is hoping to get in with DeCoursey, another Indianapolis suburb product, before his recruiting stock jumps. A productive junior year has yielded offers from Northern Illinois, Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green, Ball State, Miami of Ohio, Toledo and Iowa, which just offered Feb. 10. He was also teammates with Iowa signees Brents, D.J. Johnson and Tyrone Tracy on the Indy Select 7-on-7 team. Being this kid's first Power Five option could matter come decision time.

Offensive line

Iowa already has two offensive tackle commitments for 2019: Norwalk four-star Tyler Endres and Ridge View four-star Ezra Miller. For this position, we're listing four players, as many 2019 lineman prospects could project at both offensive tackle or offensive guard.

Justin Britt, Warren Central

Justin Britt

Warren Central (Indianapolis, Indiana)

6-4, 280

Rivals: 3 stars; 247Sports Composite: 3 stars

Bottom line: Another of Brents' teammates from Warren Central, Britt has been high on Iowa's board since he impressed at its big man camp last June. There, he received his Hawkeye offer; he'd already held offers from Indiana and Louisville. He's visited Iowa City several times and is considered an early lean for the Hawkeyes. He also has offers from Cincinnati, Michigan State, Purdue and Western Michigan.

Ira Henry

Trinity Catholic (St. Louis, Missouri)

6-5, 320

Rivals: 3 stars; 247Sports Composite: 3 stars

Bottom line: Henry could get a fourth star tacked onto his name before long. Iowa offered him during an unofficial visit in late January. It's one of many Power Five programs to notice his stellar junior year with St. Louis power Trinity Catholic. Oklahoma offered right after Iowa, and Nebraska and Purdue offered right before. Hawkeye coaches will be around Henry plenty, though, as they try to make inroads with a highly talented 2019 class in St. Louis. They've also got a couple additional targets at Trinity Catholic in wide receiver Marcus Washington and linebacker Shammond Cooper.

Will Putnam

Plant (Tampa, Florida)

6-4, 280

Rivals: 4 stars; 247Sports Composite: 4 stars

Bottom line: No, Iowa isn't establishing a pipeline in Florida. (Although there could be something brewing at Calvin Lockett's Largo High.) Putnam has been on Iowa's board dating back two years ago, when he still attended Chatham Glenwood High in Chatham, Illinois. But he moved to Tampa last summer and recently picked up offers from Florida, South Carolina and Florida State after a strong junior season. Putnam would routinely visit Iowa when he lived in the Midwest, and that relationship is still there. It'll be interesting to see if the Hawkeyes can stay in the picture with southeastern powers now entering the mix.

J.J. Guedet

Washington (Washington, Illinois)

6-8, 255

Rivals: Unrated; 247Sports Composite: Unrated

Bottom line: Guedet's recruiting stock has begun to blossom. Minnesota was the first Power Five program to offer on Jan. 12. Illinois jumped in on Jan. 23, and Iowa and Iowa State extended offers Jan. 29. Guedet has a frame that projects incredibly well at offensive tackle and he plays a little more than a couple hours away from Iowa City in the Peoria area. He could be a Midwest must-have before all is said and done. Iowa will look to get him on campus soon.

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_.