Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: How many RBs will Iowa take for the 2019 class?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

It's a jam-packed mailbag today. I won't bore you with my musings on the NBA playoffs. (Except that "Playoff Rajon Rondo" is just so much fun to watch.)

Iowa and Iowa State running back target Jirehl Brock (21) is the No. 10 RB in 2019, according to the 247Sports Composite.

Anyway, let's get to it.

For the first part of that question: Running back is not a position of overly significant need for Iowa's 2019 class.

It might feel like one because Iowa assistant coach Derrick Foster only has four scholarship guys to work with during spring ball.

But the Hawkeyes will have six running backs come next fall, including walk-on Kordell Stillmunkes — seven if you include Samson Evans, whose flex role could send him to the backfield often. 

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Evans is obviously expected to return in 2019. And, barring anything unforeseen, all six designated running backs return in 2019, as well.

Over the past five seasons, the most running backs Iowa has had listed on its roster was eight. That was in back-to-back years in 2013 and 2014. 

So I think the Hawkeyes would be OK taking just one running back. I think they would also be fine taking two to give themselves a total of eight for 2019. I'm not too sure they'd take more than two.

For the second part of your question: At the moment, four-star running back Jirehl Brock of Quincy, Illinois, appears to be Iowa's No. 1 target at running back — perhaps its top 2019 target overall. He will attend the April 20 spring game, and the Hawkeyes are competing against Iowa State, Illinois, Purdue, Minnesota, Indiana and Northwestern for his services. 

Tyler Goodson, a quick three-star running back out of North Gwinnett in Georgia, is taking an official visit to Iowa over the spring game weekend. The Hawkeyes offered him in late February, probably liking what they saw from Goodson while recruiting his teammate, Iowa linebacker signee Jayden McDonald.

Goodson carries a laundry list of offers, including from West Virginia, Iowa State, Nebraska, Indiana and Boston College. But the Hawkeyes get his first official.

"They’re one of my top schools," he told me of Iowa on Monday night. "And my plans are to commit before the season, so my family and I are getting my visit in before I make my decisions."

I don't think Goodson's recruitment depends on Brock. Like I said, I would imagine Iowa is OK taking two running backs for 2019 if they really like both guys.

And Foster would be a happy camper if Iowa brings in Brock and Goodson.

The Hawkeyes are also quite high on three-star running back Breece Hall, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound bruiser out of Wichita, Kansas; he came to the Feb. 17 junior day.

I like A.J. Finley as an option, too. The three-star prospect is a product of St. Paul's Episcopal in Mobile, Alabama, a school that would be a wonderful launching pad for the small-scale Alabama pipeline Foster could create in his home state.

Schmitz is referring to the April recruiting big board for Iowa basketball I put out Tuesday. There are 10 prospects on it.

I think you can imagine who was No. 1 on the board. (Rhymes with Shmee-Shmay Shmarton.)

You'll understand the rest of this response if you've looked at the big board. You can see it here. I'll give you a couple minutes.



OK, got it?

Right now, I would take the over on 1.5.

If Tyler Cook stays at Iowa, Fran McCaffery will have two scholarships to fill. (One designated for 2019, and one he's carrying over from 2018.)

And I could see both recruits coming from this initial big board.

First of all: I think Iowa lands one of the three point guards in D.J. Carton (No. 1 on the board), Tyrell Terry (No. 5) or Tyreke Locure (No. 9). The Hawkeyes haven't offered Locure, but his AAU program director told me assistant coach Sherman Dillard called about him the other day and that Iowa will watch him play this weekend in Dallas. Locure's high school coach also told me Dillard recently called about him.

Then, the Hawkeyes would need to secure one commitment from one the other seven prospects.

I'm nothing if not honest, and I would have to predict Iowa doesn't get Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (No. 10), E.J. Liddell (No. 8), Malik Hall (No. 4) or Keion Brooks (No. 3), even though Iowa visited Brooks on Monday.

Trayce Jackson-Davis (No. 2) will be one to follow. He's a top-30 guy on the verge of five stars, but he has great relationships with Patrick McCaffery and assistant coach Andrew Francis.

Trayce Jackson-Davis is going through process of in-home visits.

Then there's Jordan Mitchell (No. 6) and Zeke Nnaji (No. 7), both of whom I think Iowa has a good shot to land.

Mitchell is a four-star, 6-7 small forward out of Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State likes him but it isn't all over him, leaving room for a school like Iowa to make a move. The Hawkeyes offered last September and have kept in contact since. Mitchell told me Dillard checked in on him late last week.

Nnaji is a three-star, 6-9 small forward out of Hopkins, Minnesota — a suburb of Minneapolis. Iowa offered him this past October and he visited Iowa City in late October for the Minnesota football game and the basketball opener versus William Jewell College. The Hawkeyes are competing against Creighton, Minnesota, Nebraska, Wisconsin and Baylor, which just offered Tuesday. Nnaji plays with Terry and Patrick McCaffery on D1Minnesota.

Carton is not an Indiana lean right now. I don't think he's an anything lean.

From the beginning of his recruiting explosion last summer, Carton has always told me he wants to be methodical with his decision. He doesn't want to rush into anything and doesn't plan on committing until his senior year. He wants to see how much his stock can rise before sitting down and sifting through all his options.

So, yes. Carton likes Indiana. He loved his visit there. Victor Oladipo was on hand. He looked up to Oladipo as a kid, and he was impressed with how passionate Oladipo was for the program even though he left five years ago.

But I don't think there's a lean currently. Carton has a whole bunch of options he's considering, and he's going to get more this offseason.

Where does Coty Lemon from DCG fall on either schools radar? – @flbodyandpaint

Lemon is a heck of a lot of fun to watch.

He's a 6-2, 285-pound defensive tackle who was a rock for Dallas-Center-Grimes' juggernaut defense this season. He finished with 69 tackles, 17 solo tackles for loss and 11 solo sacks, and he earned a spot on our All-Iowa Class 3A team

And after that big season, he's emerging in the recruiting world.

He received a North Dakota offer in early March and visited Princeton later that month. He's gone to additional junior days at Iowa, Kansas State, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State. He will participate in Nike's The Opening regional in Columbus on May 5.

DC-G junior defensive end Coty Lemon (#50) waits for snap of the ball as the No.2 Pella Dutch (1-0) battle against the No.6 Dallas Center-Grimes Mustangs (1-0) in a Class 3A match at DC-G Stadium in Grimes.  The Dutch of Pella have won the Class 3A the last three years and carry a 42-game winning streak.

When I saw this question, I messaged Lemon a few questions to get a better sense of Iowa and Iowa State's involvement in his recruitment.

He said he's visited both schools about 10 times each. Reese Morgan has been his main contact for Iowa, and Cyclones director of player personnel Derek Hoodjer has been his main contact for Iowa State. 

So, right now, there seems to be interest. The fact that Lemon hasn't been offered in either school's initial spring wave could mean a few things.

One, they've got other defensive tackles above him on their board and they want to see how things play out with them. Two, if they are considering an offer, they might want to get more direct eyes on Lemon before making any decision. Or three, they like Lemon, but he's not a prospect they're seriously considering at this point.

Lemon said both Iowa and Iowa State want him to come to their camps this summer.

In terms of a timetable for his recruitment, Lemon said it all depends on how this summer plays out.

"If I don’t get the offer I want, most likely (I) would keep it open," he said.

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 mbain@dmreg.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.