In-state 2021 defensive end T.J. Bollers gives the latest on his recruitment. Matthew Bain, Sports writer
OK. So, things are going a little better in fantasy football. I've bounced back and am now 2-1 in the 14-team league. I'm 0-3 in the eight-team league, but I feel pretty good about where the roster is at. (I sound like a head coach in denial, don't I?)
But here's the deal: I've got Drew Brees, Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson on the 0-3 team. I desperately need a second wide receiver, and I don't need all three of those guys ... so I'm putting Mahomes on the trading block. Hoping to get Michael Thomas, but I'm pretty close to locking in Davante Adams.
Am I crazy for trading Mahomes? Brees just put up a 40-spot last week on my bench, and I have to think Mahomes will regress to the mean — which will still be very good — at some point.
If you can't tell, I'm a fantasy football nerd. Always feel free to chop it up with me about that on Twitter or if you see me walking around.
Anyway, you came here for the Hawkeye recruiting mailbag. Without further ado:
Do they have the upside to be a combo like Fant/Hockenson? — @JonnyHawkeye
This question popped up after Illinois three-star tight end Josiah Miamen committed to Iowa over Wisconsin on Sunday. @JonnyHawkeye is asking if Miamen and fellow 2019 tight end recruit Logan Lee could one day match the production of Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson.
Simple answer? Nobody knows for sure right now. Projections are tricky and not an exact science. Heck, based on their recruiting profiles, Fant and Hockenson didn't project as the stars they are today.
Fant was a three-star kid and 247Sports' No. 31 athlete in 2016. That's what you'd expect from a nice, multi-year contributor — not a future first-round NFL draft pick. Hockenson also had three stars, but 247Sports pegged ranked him 1,182nd in 2016. He has excelled way beyond any projection associated with that ranking.
So, should Hawkeye fans be encouraged 247Sports ranks Lee the No. 301 prospect in 2019 and ranks Miamen at No. 807? Sure. But don't read too much into it.
A prospect's offer sheet is often the best indication of talent.
For Lee, Iowa beat out Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin, Ole Miss and others before his junior year. And we know Miamen picked Iowa over Wisconsin, but he also held offers from Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State and Notre Dame, among others.
(Fant also held offers from UCLA, Arizona State and Vanderbilt, among others. Hockenson was one of those unknown Iowa dudes that just balls out in college.)
Personally, I've only seen Lee play in person. I've seen film on Miamen, but that isn't the most accurate assessment; it's just his highlights.
I'm pretty confident predicting Lee will be the real deal. I've been saying that for a while, and I'm certainly not alone in that opinion. And Miamen has been one of the hotter tight end prospects in the Midwest this fall.
So, to finally stop annoying @JonnyHawkeye and answer his dang question already: Yes, Lee and Miamen have the potential/upside to be like Fant and Hockenson.
Whether or not they reach that mark is up in the air.
Tomari Fox still have Hawkeyes #1? — @TheeJustinM
I don't know who Atlanta-area three-star defensive end Tomari Fox has No. 1, but he told me his top five over the weekend: Iowa, North Carolina, Georgia Tech, Georgia State and Ole Miss. He visited Georgia Tech last weekend as it hosted Clemson and told me that was his upcoming visit for now.
He also provided this piece of info on his commitment timetable: "I'll either commit very soon or near December."
Regarding whether he'd visit Iowa again, Fox said: "I wouldn't really look to learn anything new, I'd just confirm that I have the same feelings from when I first went up there."
So there you have it. There's not a whole bunch to read in between the lines there, and obviously only Fox knows where his heart is at.
His timetable suggests other schools might sit ahead of Iowa, though. If he thinks he might commit soon — and that's the second time he's told me that in as many weeks — that would seem to favor schools he's visited recently: Georgia Tech and North Carolina.
We shall see. Iowa would certainly like to have him. It would like to add another defensive end for 2019, and Fox is a consensus three-star prospect from a talent-rich area.
Who has better shot to land him out of the two IA schools? — @jrobs_josh2003
@jrobs_josh2003 is referring to Desmond Polk, a 2020 guard from the Milwaukee area who will play at Indiana powerhouse prep La Lumiere this year. Iowa and Iowa State have both offered. The Cyclones visited him at La Lumiere last week and he visited both Iowa and Iowa State unofficially last weekend.
So, both schools are most definitely in the picture.
Now ... who has a better shot?
Who the heck knows.
Iowa State has plenty of love in the Milwaukee area, but I'm not sure that's going to carry too much weight at this point. It's still way, way early in this kid's recruitment. He's seeing his stock surge a bit and is still fielding new offers, most recently from Marquette. The fact that Polk, a four-star prospect, took unofficials to both means he likes both, and that's about where we are right now.
But I can say he fits both offenses quite well. I watched the Polk closely in April at the NY2LA Summer Jam because I knew Iowa State was planning to offer him, Reece Beekman and Jamari Sibley — all teammates on Milwaukee-based Phenom Universe.
Honestly, I'm not sure I saw Polk, a 6-foot-3 prospect, miss three 3-pointers in the two full games I watched. During the first game, Cyclones assistant coach Daniyal Robinson was courtside. During the second game, Iowa assistant coach Sherman Dillard was there.
So, heading into the fall, I'd pegged Polk as a top-five shooter in the 2020 class. Then I saw his numbers from last week's combine at La Lumiere: This kid has a max vertical jump of 40 inches. That's D.J. Carton-level stuff.
Do the math. He's a top-five shooter in his class and he can leap out of the gym.
Holy smokes. You can bet Iowa and Iowa State will continue to be involved.
How well is Iowa defending the home turf against Nebraska and Minnesota? — @EchelonRight
The Hawkeyes are doing just fine defending the home turf against Minnesota and Nebraska.
It could eventually be a situation to monitor, as P.J. Fleck and Scott Frost are exciting, young coaches ... but they need success before their names consistently carry more weight than Kirk Ferentz or Matt Campbell in this state.
Of all the top in-state recruits since the 2016 class, only three have committed to Minnesota or Nebraska ...
In 2016, four-star Valley offensive guard John Raridon picked the Huskers and three-star Sioux Center athlete Ko Kieft picked the Gophers. Then, in the 2019 class, three-star Waverly-Shell Rock defensive end Mosai Newsom committed to Nebraska.
That's not a big dent.
Of course, things could change. Minnesota and Nebraska are in with several of Iowa's top 2020 and 2021 prospects, including Lewis Central defensive lineman Logan Jones, Greene County left tackle Tyler Miller, Clear Creek Amana defensive end T.J. Bollers and Bettendorf defensive tackle Griffin Liddle; Minnesota visited Bollers, Cedar Rapids Xavier offensive lineman Josh Volk and Clear Lake quarterback Jaylen DeVries on Monday.
But, like I said, Minnesota and Nebraska need to produce better results on the football field before they can start regularly prying Iowa kids away from the in-state schools.
With Nebraska's dismal performances, are any players once in Iowa fold turning to more of a soft Nebraska verbal? Maybe a linebacker, possibly with the last name Henrich? — @TheeJustinM
As much as Iowa kids usually want to stay in Iowa ... the same can be said for Nebraska kids. I'd be surprised if Iowa flipped an in-state recruit from Nebraska, and that includes four-star Omaha linebacker Nick Henrich.
Nebraska's only out-of-state recruit who matches Iowa's remaining needs, and who held a Hawkeyes offer, is Newsom. He's a great fit for Erik Chinander's 3-4 defense, though, and don't see him going anywhere.
Frost has already proven to be a formidable recruiter, and there's positive energy building around the Huskers program — despite the early struggles. Don't expect a mass exodus of 2019 pledges.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.