Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: Any WR targets to monitor other than David Bell?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

Let's get right to the questions. (There were a lot of great questions this week. If I didn't get to yours today, I will in a future mailbag.)

Even as a junior, David Bell is one of the best players in the state.

Any WRs to keep an eye on in case David Bell goes elsewhere? — @n_hall

Iowa is among Indianapolis four-star receiver David Bell's top five (along with Ohio State, Purdue, Penn State and Indiana). Two of his Warren Central teammates are current or incoming Hawkeyes in Julius Brents and recruit Justin Britt.

Bell told Ohio State site Letterman Row that he'll likely take an official to Columbus in the fall, indicating he'll extend his recruitment past the June 25-July 24 dead period.

The Hawkeyes will try to land an official with him for a big game-day — maybe the Cy-Hawk game. But while Iowa is certainly in the picture, things are trending toward Ohio State or Purdue here.

If Bell goes elsewhere, none of the receivers Iowa has offered will likely come.

Miami three-star Kalani Norris has some interest because Iowa is in "the upper half of a Power Five conference," his high school coach, Christopher Merrit, recently told me. But other schools sit higher in his mind.

"There's a couple teams that have offered him in the Big Ten that he's a little more enamored with, just being honest with you," Merrit said. "His brother played for Jeff Brohm at Western Kentucky. He knows that Purdue is going to throw the football."

So, if Iowa misses on Bell, and if it still wants to get one more receiver, it could look to the group of Midwest receivers with FCS or Group of Five interest and try to pluck them with a Power Five offer — like it did with freshman linebacker Seth Benson, out of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Seven names come to mind:

Peter Udoibok, St. Paul (Minnesota), three stars: This 6-foot-4, 200-pound prospect visited Iowa in April and holds offers from Wyoming, Yale, Air Force, North Dakota State, Rice and South Dakota State. Minnesota is also interested. 247Sports ranks him the No. 166 receiver in 2019 and Minnesota's No. 6-ranked prospect for the class.

Canyon Bauer of O'Gorman looks for an opening against Drew Geier of Aberdeen Central during Thursday night's playoff game in Sioux Falls.

Canyon Bauer, Sioux Falls (South Dakota), unrated: This 6-1, 200-pound prospect holds a preferred walk-on offer from the Hawkeyes and has camped with Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota this summer. He recently committed to South Dakota State, but things could change if Kirk Ferentz comes calling.

Treyton Welch, Buffalo (Minnesota), unrated: This 6-3, 200-pound prospect was at Iowa's March 4 junior day. He holds offers from UNI, North Dakota State, Western Illinois and Brown. Minnesota extended him a preferred walk-on spot, too.

Port Washington's Jacob Lippe works against Homestead's Matthew Hartlieb at Homestead on Aug. 18.

Jacob Lippe, Port Washington (Wisconsin), unrated: This 6-2, 180-pound prospect has visited Iowa twice, and he holds offers from Northern Iowa, Western Illinois and North Dakota State. Wisconsin and Michigan State have also hosted him for visits.

Larry Wright III, Saint Paul (Minnesota), unrated: This 6-3, 195-pound prospect visited Iowa City for the spring game and recently picked up a preferred walk-on offer from Minnesota. He holds Division II offers from St. Cloud State and Concordia.

Darius Watson, St. Louis, unrated: This 6-2, 200-pound prospect is the younger brother of Iowa freshman Dallas Craddeith. He plays more of a tight end for Hazelwood Central, picking up an offer from South Dakota and interest from Arkansas, Miami of Ohio, Illinois and Missouri.

Mike Hill, Iowa Western: If Iowa hopes to find another Nick Easley from Iowa Western, Hill is probably the best candidate. He was second on the team last year with 58 catches for 707 yards. He's a 6-1, 170-pounder from South Carolina.

Of Carton, Jackson-Davis, Brooks, and Nnaji, who do you think the Hawkeyes have the best chance of landing? — @SydStardust

Putting me on the spot, are ya? (Also, this guy's Twitter handle is beyond awesome.)

D.J. Carton, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Keion Brooks and Zeke Nnaji are all among Iowa's top 2019 targets. Carton, though, is on a tier of his own as the clear-cut No. 1 guy.

It's going to be tough for Iowa to land any of these four, simply because the competition is so fierce. We're talking about guys who recently tried out for Team USA (Carton, Jackson-Davis and Brooks for the U18 team, Nnaji for the U17 team).

I'd put Iowa's chances below 20 percent for these guys (which is the case for most of the schools pursuing them). But, if I'm comparing them in a vacuum, here's how I rank them in terms of likelihood, from most likely to least likely:

1. Carton: Everything the Bettendorf five-star point guard says about his relationship with Patrick McCaffery and Fran McCaffery is legitimate. Of course, he has strong relationships with his other top schools, too. Much of Carton's decision will depend on his visits. He's taking an official to Michigan right now and he'll be at Indiana this weekend. His next visits won't come until August or September. And if Kansas, Duke or North Carolina turn their interest into an offer, the whole game changes.

This is what Carton told me regarding Iowa this week: "I talk to Pat almost on a daily basis, he’s become one of my really good friends. Throughout the USA Trials and NBA Top 100, I’ve been with him a lot. I’ve gotten to know him really well, and I’ve gotten to know his family. I’ve gotten to know Coach (Fran) McCaffery really well. I’ve known them for a long time, but just talking with them on a daily basis — it’s connecting me more with Iowa."

2. Nnaji: Iowa was one of the first schools to offer the four-star, 6-10 power forward from just outside Minneapolis. He exploded this spring, skyrocketing to the top 40 in the country and picking up offers from UCLA, Georgetown, Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, Ohio State, Indiana, Xavier and more along the way. But the early interest matters. Nnaji, teammates with Patrick McCaffery on D1Minnesota, was planning to take some visits in June, but the U17 National Team Trials changed those plans. Now, the plan is to play out July and take visits after, his D1Minnesota coach Jay Fuhrmann, told me Tuesday.

"He wants to take his visits and find which program checks off the boxes for what he's looking for — culture, basketball-wise, scholastically," Fuhrmann said. "I would guess Iowa would be up there for him. I know he's got a good relationship with the staff. Any time a school comes in early and sees something in you and believes in you early — I think that carries a lot of weight."

3. Brooks: The five-star forward from Fort Wayne is taking a visit to Iowa on Wednesday. That matters. It shows clear mutual interest — especially since it's an unofficial visit, so the Brooks family is paying for everything. On paper, this is a sizable long shot for the Hawkeyes. They're competing with the likes of Kentucky, North Carolina, UCLA and Michigan State for Brooks. But, clearly, assistant coach Andrew Francis' relationship with the family, which dates back to Brooks' freshman year, carries weight. Francis and Fran McCaffery also had an in-home visit with Brooks in April.

4. Jackson-Davis: McCaffery has shown the five-star power forward from Greenwood, Indiana, a whole lot of love. I think he attended each of Jackson-Davis' games with the U18 National Team in Canada this month. Iowa, Indiana, UCLA, Michigan State, Purdue, Memphis and Ohio State are all considered contenders, and Jackson-Davis told the Indy Star that North Carolina's Roy Williams reached out last weekend. He's already planning official visits to Indiana, UCLA and Michigan State, and those three are the presumed favorites. He has said he wants to take all five of his official visits, though. Iowa will do everything in its power to land one of his remaining two. It had an in-home visit with him in April.

With an expected smaller class for 2019, what positions is Iowa football still targeting? — @iowafanwilliams

Iowa has 13 recruits for its 2019 class so far. Combining the 11 graduating scholarship seniors with the yearly attrition of college football, I could see Iowa adding 15-17 players next season. Maybe 18.

Let's go with the maximum and assume Ferentz is looking to land five more guys.

He very likely gets a 2019 running back in Georgia three-star Tyler Goodson, who will announce his decision July 3. If Iowa doesn't have a silent verbal commitment from Goodson, its decision to part ways with Jirehl Brock could come back to bite it.

Then, I think Iowa would like one more receiver and another defensive end. Tomari Fox, a three-star defensive end out of Georgia, seems to be a likely candidate for that other spot. He was on an official visit last weekend with Jalen Hunt and Britt, who both committed to the Hawkeyes. (In-state defensive end Mosai Newsom is trending away from Iowa. He just picked up a Michigan State offer, one he wanted for a while.)

That leaves two potential spots left. Both of Iowa's 2019 defensive back recruits play mostly safety in high school; maybe it looks for more of a pure cornerback.

It could simply go for best available, too. It already has two linebacker pledges in Jestin Jacobs and Jack Campbell, and it's only graduating two linebackers this season. But if Omaha four-star Nick Henrich turns up his Iowa interest, the Hawkeyes are going to listen. They've got a long-standing relationship with Henrich, 247Sports' No. 83 prospect in 2019.

Feel like a jerk even asking, but it's a long time until December - what are the odds either of the in state schools see decommits? — @gmschmitz

There's always a chance kids re-open their recruitment. The early signing period is supposed to help prevent that, but it still happens.

We saw it last year when Michigan athlete Ben VanSumeren flipped from Iowa to the Wolverines in December. Heck, the only reason Iowa has Spencer Petras is because he decommitted from Oregon State. Same with Jayden McDonald, who decommitted from Rutgers.

If guys have monster senior seasons, some colleges will offer — whether the kid is committed or not.

Coaches are just counting down until Dec. 20, when their recruits are officially inked in.

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_.