Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: Will Iowa LB recruit Jestin Jacobs flip to Ohio State?

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central
Northmont's Jestin Jacobs makes a tackle against Pickerington Central on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017, in Pickerington.

Let's get right to the mailbag today.

Does Jestin Jacobs stick with the Hawkeyes? — @iowafanwilliams

This was a common question this week. In case you missed it: Jestin Jacobs, Iowa's 2019 linebacker pledge who has surged to become a four-star recruit with a monster senior season, picked up an Ohio State offer Monday. Jacobs is from Clayton, Ohio, just about an hour west of Columbus.

Will this be another Ben VanSumeren situation? Will Jacobs flip?

Well, 247Sports national analyst Steve Wiltfong reported this morning that Jacobs will visit Ohio State for its Nov. 24 game against Michigan, and Rivals reported that Iowa has told the Jacobs family it is OK with him taking the visit. 

"I have been talking about it to my family, but haven’t decided on anything yet," Jacobs told Rivals. "I’m just focused on the season right now."

Wait a minute — what about Iowa's no-visit policy?

The Hawkeyes are well-known for that polarizing rule — the same one that helped push four-star, top-200 running back Eno Benjamin to Arizona State two recruiting classes ago.

If the policy contributed to ending a previous relationship with a four-star recruit, could it do so again?

That's where my head was at waking up this morning: I thought the no-visit policy could come back to bite Iowa, because if Jacobs wanted to visit Ohio State, that wouldn't necessarily mean he'd want to commit there.

But rules are rules.

Or, is Jacobs now an exception to the rule?

Or, is Iowa is giving lip service to the Jacobs family while searching for another linebacker recruit?

If Jacobs does prove to be an exception to the policy, that's a slippery slope. Iowa's no-visit rule had been mostly successful, in part, because it's hard-lined. No wiggle room.

Because, if you allow an exception, who's to stop future recruits from trying to be exceptions, too? If Jacobs picked up a late offer and visited, why can't I?

Everything suggests Jacobs is seriously considering the Ohio State offer. If he wanted to end any and all speculation, he could come out and say "I'm 100 percent loyal to Iowa" or however he'd want to do it. That's what Iowa quarterback recruit Alex Padilla did after he picked up a Georgia offer last month.

Jacobs does truly like Iowa, though. He committed back in May over the likes of Michigan State, Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa State and others, and he has stayed loyal as his recruiting stock has boomed.

This feels like a coin flip.

"All of us (Iowa recruits) are very close," Jacobs told Rivals. "We talk almost daily, have a group chat and are always checking in on each other. It’s a big family already."

One thing is known: Jacobs wants to enroll early wherever he goes, so this won't be a drawn-out process beyond the Ohio State visit.

So, did the coaches just really like his senior year or did we miss out on a person or two? — @schulzjj

Schulzjj is referring to Chris Reames, the 2019 Van Meter defensive end who picked up an Iowa offer and committed last week. Iowa was his first Power Five offer. He held 14 other Group of Five, FCS and Ivy League offers.

I drove out to watch him and meet him a few weeks ago, and his biggest message was that he was playing a waiting game — just seeing if the Hawkeyes would turn their interest into an offer. That waiting game obviously paid off.

Now, to Schulzjj's question: Obviously, it's a mix of both.

Yes, throughout this recruiting cycle, Iowa has missed on several defensive end targets whose suitors were some of the country's best programs. (Truth is, there are a lot more misses than hits in recruiting.)

But, at this point in Iowa's recruiting process, I think Reames' offer stemmed more from his senior year. He enters Van Meter's Class 1A semifinal against West Sioux with 38 tackles, seven solo tackles for loss and two solo sacks. And I haven't heard much about Iowa backing out on its other defensive end targets in Tomari Fox, Keith Randolph and Malcolm Lee. So, it's not like it missed on those guys and then offered Reames.

Thoughts (on Reames)? — @BenFlaherty21

Reames is a project, no doubt. 

He is a skinny 6-foot-7 and 220 pounds right now. Iowa's thought (and hope) is that his frame can support plenty of weight, and that eventually he'll combine his speed with a formidable Big Ten body. If he can do that, he could become a defensive end in the mold of Anthony Nelson — to whom defensive line coach Reese Morgan compares Reames.

Van Meter's Sam Thompson and Chris Reames (87) tackle West Lyon's Logan Meyer during their 1A semifinal game at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Reames has a long way to go before he's Nelson, though. A Waukee product, Nelson had a better senior season against stiffer, Class 4A competition — 42 tackles, 21 solo tackles for loss and seven solo sacks. Comparing their film, Nelson's just pops more. Reames' film isn't bad by any means, but Nelson's was damn good.

Could Reames turn out to be a really good college defensive end? Yes. Could he be a project that doesn't pan out? Yes.

But he's a local, under-the-radar prospect that the Hawkeyes have done so well with in the past. And you've got to think Kirk Ferentz thinks Chris Doyle can successfully develop Reames' body. 

All in all, this offer makes sense for Iowa.

With 6 juniors, how big will the 2020 Hawkeye basketball class be? — @iowafanwilliams

Right now, Iowa basketball is projected to have six open scholarships in the 2020 class.

Now, as I've reported before, Hawkeye coaches are keeping their options open for potentially adding another 2019 recruit, as Tyler Cook will likely declare for the NBA Draft after this season. If Iowa does add another player for the 2019 class, it would have five slots for 2020.

Either way, five or six scholarships, 2020 will be a big class for Iowa. Just think about this: According to 247Sports, Iowa extended 26 offers to 2019 prospects. It has already offered 27 prospects in the 2020 class.

The Hawkeyes are currently slated to have three bigs/stretch forwards (Luka Garza, Jack Nunge, Patrick McCaffery), three guards (C.J. Fredrick, Connor McCaffery, Joe Toussaint) and one small forward (Joe Wieskamp) in 2020. So if you're looking at primary needs, you could point to the small forward or wings positions. But with a class this big, Iowa will look to add recruits at several positions.

Lorne Bowman Jr. of Orchard Lake St. Mary’s with a drive to the basket during the Purdue Elite Basketball Camp Saturday, August 25, 2018, at the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center.

Some early targets who stand out:

  • Unrated Michigan point guard Lorne Bowman, whose recruitment is starting to ignite
  • In-state mega-recruit Xavier Foster, who officially visited UCLA last weekend
  • Minnesota four-star power forward Ben Carlson, who's also a major Iowa State target
  • St. Louis four-star point guard Caleb Love
  • Milwaukee four-star point guard Desmond Polk
  • Missouri four-star point guard Ty Berry
  • Minnesota four-star power forward Dawson Garcia
  • Indiana four-star shooting guards Trey Galloway and Anthony Leal

Who should Hawk and Clone fans be watching at the dome? — @MPSchwenk

Let's go down a couple of class lists here ... 

Class 4A

Southeast Polk

  • Gavin Williams, four-star 2020 running back with offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Michigan, plus interest from Notre Dame. Has really started to shine in the playoffs after not having an eye-popping regular season.
Nov 2, 2018; Johnston, IA, USA; Southeast Polk Rams Gavin Williams (21) runs the football against the Johnston Dragons at Johnston Stadium. The Rams beat the Dragons 21-7.

Cedar Falls

  • Jack Campbell, three-star 2019 linebacker committed to Iowa.
  • Logan Wolf, 2019 wide receiver committed to Northern Iowa. One of the state's top athletes. Might be a name to monitor if Iowa misses on David Bell and still wants another receiver for this class.
  • Jackson Leistikow, 2019 offensive lineman with FCS interest. A potential preferred walk-on candidate.
  • Jackson Frericks, 2019 tight end with Midwest Division I interest. Feels like another preferred walk-on candidate.

Dowling Catholic

  • Jayson Murray, 2019 running back who's having arguably the best season among a loaded field of running backs. Small (5-9), but very fast. Iowa Western has offered.
  • Jesse Alger, 2019 offensive lineman with a Division II offer from Minnesota State. Potential preferred walk-on. 


  • Darien Porter, three-star 2019 wide receiver committed to Iowa State.
  • Carter Bell, 2019 athlete committed to South Dakota. Dominoes would have to fall for either Iowa or Iowa State to get involved, but crazier things have happened. He plays quarterback for Bettendorf.
  • Griffin Lidde, future three-star 2021 recruit with offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska, plus interest from Minnesota, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Northwestern and others.
Bettendorf's Darien Porter (10) looks to the sideline during a Class 4A quarter final football game on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018, at Trojan Field in Iowa City.

Class 3A

Cedar Rapids Xavier

  • Josh Volk, three-star 2020 offensive lineman with offers from Iowa and Iowa State, pus interest from Notre Dame, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska, Northwestern, Ohio State and Vanderbilt.
  • Quinn Schulte, 2019 athlete/defensive back with a South Dakota State offer. Iowa and Iowa State have an eye on him, too. He plays quarterback for Xavier.
  • Ethan Hurkett, 2020 linebacker hearing from Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, South Dakota State and several Ivy League schools, among others.

Lewis Central

  • Max Duggan, four-star quarterback committed to TCU. He is so, so fun to watch.
  • Logan Jones, three-star defensive lineman with offers from Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota, plus interest from Notre Dame, Nebraska and Kansas State.
  • Drake Nettles, 2019 kicker who is a preferred walk-on recruit with Iowa State. 

Class 2A

West Liberty

  • Spencer Daufeldt, 2019 defensive tackle with a D-II offer from Minnesota State. Preferred walk-on candidate.

Class 1A

Van Meter

  • Chris Reames, three-star 2019 defensive end committed to Iowa.

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_.