Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: How does Iowa's 2019 RB class affect Gavin Williams?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

Welcome, once again, to the Hawkeye recruiting mailbag. Glad to have you back.

We at the Register are having our college football and high school football content planning meetings this week. And, man, I am ready for football to be back. Iowa and Iowa State's media days this week are only amplifying that.

South East Polk sprinter Gavin Williams stands for a portrait at the school gym Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Onto the questions:

What impact does the approach Iowa and Iowa State took to recruiting RB in the ‘19 cycle have on Gavin Williams’ recruitment? — @TravisVL

Travis elaborated, saying he wondered if Iowa State getting three running backs in 2019 might affect its recruitment of in-state four-star prospect Gavin Williams, compared to Iowa, which took one 2019 running back and one junior-college transfer this summer.

In other words: Could the Hawkeyes have an edge with the elite 2020 Southeast Polk product because they didn't take on as many running backs for the 2019 class?

Not really, no.

First, Iowa State doesn't view its 2019 class as having three running backs. It sees two running backs in Breece Hall and Jirehl Brock, and a versatile athlete in Leonard Glass who can be utilized in a variety of ways on offense — including as a running back.

You could argue Iowa's 2020 class of running backs might be bigger than Iowa State's, and that could very well turn out to be the case. But Williams is at or near the top of both the Hawkeyes' and Cyclones' 2020 boards, and both schools will recruit him accordingly. They've got to. Williams is this state's most talented skill position prospect since Oliver Martin. Even if Matt Campbell assigns one running back slot for 2020, chances are Nate Scheelhaase would prioritize Williams for that one spot.

Southeast Polk running back Gavin Williams scores a touchdown in the first quarter against the Marshalltown Bobcats at Rams Stadium in Pleasant Hill.

I also doubt a school's 2019 class of running backs would have much of an effect, if any, on Williams. Based on my conversations with him, he's a relationships guy who blocks out much of the recruiting "noise." Visits will be big.

By all accounts, Williams' unofficial visit to Iowa for the Hawkeye Tailgater last weekend went well. Iowa State hosted him twice for camps in late June, and I know Cyclones coaches are excited to get Williams back on campus as soon as they can.

Williams also picked up a Michigan offer after performing well at camp there in late June. That surprised me a bit. Not because I don't think Williams is good enough for Ann Arbor. He is. He's a top-200 prospect for a reason.

But because usually the Wolverines come later in the domino line of Midwest offers. 

To me, Harbaugh offering Williams after seeing him once in person verifies everything we've thought about this kid. His early developing blend of size and speed is unique. He's a 6-foot, 200-pound bruiser who boasts a short sprinter's acceleration — a kind you don't see very much paired with his size. 

A Michigan offer will open more eyes throughout the Midwest, and maybe a few on a national scale. Williams is currently focused on his junior year with Southeast Polk, and I'd imagine he'll play out this season and see where his recruitment is in December. Chances are he'll add a couple more offers to his current selection of Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan and Nebraska.

Any news on TE recruit from Nebraska? — @TheeJustinM

@TheeJustinM is talking about Omaha four-star tight end Chris Hickman. He rarely speaks about his recruitment, but the latest buzz is that Nebraska is making a strong push and is in serious competition with LSU and Oregon. 

Hickman is Nebraska's only in-state target who hasn't yet picked the Huskers, so he is a huge priority. He recently visited Lincoln, and he's expected to visit LSU and Oregon before making a decision.

It appears Iowa has faded here — but I don't think that's necessarily a recent trend.

Does it make sense to take an extra guy (such as Brock at RB) in case of departures? Or wait until players leave and then solve the problem? — @IowaFanWilliams

I was actually talking with a recruiting coordinator the other day about this balance, @IowaFanWilliams. He said something that's pretty germane here: You never recruit a kid with the idea that you're going to sit him for three years.

With that in mind, no, I don't think it makes sense for a school to sign a recruit just to be an extra player in case of departures. Chances are you'll wind up watching that extra kid transfer in a couple years anyway. That school would be better served addressing a more immediate need with its scholarship; it wouldn't "waste" it on a back-up recruit. 

In Iowa's case, the scholarship that could have gone to another running back would be better utilized on a 2019 defensive end, linebacker or wide receiver.

Which PG recruit are the Hawks most likely to get and/or which one should we hope they get? — @JCookDC

Iowa currently has offers out to three 2019 point guards: New York three-star Joe Toussaint, St. Louis three-star Yuri Collins and Florida product Bryan Greenlee.

The Hawkeyes offered all three on July 31, and they're positioned well with all three. Toussaint's high school coach, Joseph Lods, called Wednesday morning and said Boston College had offered Toussaint the other day. But I'd still say, on paper, Iowa is the best offer for all three targets.

As of Wednesday morning, no visits had been locked in with these guys.

One doesn't stand out as the most likely/best option for Iowa. If you want a thorough breakdown of all three — including conversations with Toussaint and Collins — check out last week's mailbag

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_.