Hawkeye film room: What defensive end recruit Jake Karchinski will bring to the Iowa defense

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

The Hawkeyes received their ninth 2019 football commitment last week in Jake Karchinski, an athletic defensive end from De Pere, Wisconsin.

Karchinski, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds, plays at West De Pere High, where he recorded 61 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss, during an all-conference junior season. He is an up-and-coming prospect in the Midwest, picking up all 14 of his offers since the end of his junior campaign.

Trent Ingalls of Menasha intercepts a pass to Jake Karchinski of West De Pere in a Bay Conference title game at Calder Stadium on Friday, October 7, 2016 in Menasha, Wisconsin.
Ron Page/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

247Sports gives Karchinski three stars and ranks him the No. 65 strong-side defensive end in 2019. Rivals does not have him rated.

Let’s take a closer look at what makes Karchinski stand out in this HawkCentral film room session:

Karchinski boasts a wide range of defensive versatility in high school: The future Hawkeye lined up all over the place for West De Pere. He'd put his hands in the turf as a traditional defensive end. He occasionally played standing up off the edge. He even lined up as a hybrid linebacker/defensive back at times, showing off decent skills in pass coverage. Heck, at the 0:34 mark, he jumps a route for an interception. While Iowa likely won't ask him to do anything other than line up as a traditional defensive end, the athleticism that allows him such positional versatility in high school will translate well to the next level. That, combined with the obvious strength and a frame that can add plenty more, translates to a legit three-star prospect.

He's a gap-filler: From his film, Karchinski's strength is defending the run. He doesn't have electric speed and does not consistently disrupt the quarterback in the backfield. But he's the cornerstone of West De Pere's rush defense. His instincts are good. He fills his gaps well and barely moves when running backs plow into his chest. He can cover a good chunk of space laterally and consistently sets the edge for his defense. Watch at 3:05, for instance, when he disengages from a block to pull down a running back when his left arm, preventing him from getting outside. He's well-suited to be a strong-side defensive end. This is an athlete who will be a 265-pounder, rather quickly, at Iowa.

Sustained speed and motor: While Karchinski doesn't have jaw-dropping acceleration, he does have impressive top-end speed and is relentless. In other words, the kid's like a freight train out there. At 2:10, watch as Karchinski chases down a quarterback, forcing him out of bounds to prevent a scramble. That quarterback was probably quicker than Karchinski, but his aggressive pursuit got the job done. At 3:50, he chases down a receiver after a screen pass. At 5:10, he tracks down a receiver from 25 yards away — on the opposite side of the field. At 5:40, he tracks down a running back who had run the opposite way of him and bounced outside for a big gain. Bottom line: Karchinski catches up to people he would never beat in a race, and it's thanks to his sustained top-end speed and relentless motor.

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_.