Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: Latest with Jestin Jacobs? 'I am close to my final decision'

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

Let's start this mailbag off with some props for Iowa Western football.

Wednesday morning, Reivers defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Aaron Terry sent out a tweet: "Retweet if you want your film evaluated by Iowa Western Football."

I love this. Iowa Western is not in a position where it needs recruits to fill holes. Scott Strohmeier's program is consistently one of the country's best, and he gets Power Five talents to Council Bluffs all the time. So, no, the Reivers aren't going to recruit every player who retweets that.

But they're giving kids who might feel overlooked a chance. And from talking to prospects the past few years, especially in a major under-the-radar state such as Iowa, that's all they want. A chance.

Good on you, Terry. Good on you, Iowa Western. Let's see if you can find a gem.

Now, onto the mailbag.

Any chance Iowa keeps Jestin (Jacobs)? — @TaxBrackett

If you're a Hawkeye fan, things currently stand about as well as you could hope with four-star Ohio linebacker Jestin Jacobs. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker, linebackers coach Seth Wallace and assistant defensive line coach/recruiting coordinator Kelvin Bell had an in-home visit with Jacobs on Monday.

By all accounts, the visit went well. Both Jacobs and his father, Seth, told Rivals that Jestin was still solidly committed to Iowa.

Take that with a grain of salt.

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First, I've never heard of a visit — unofficial, official, in-home, whatever — that didn't go well. When college coaches tell you how much they want you, it's hard to be put off. Second, what else are the Jacobses going to say? If he does have doubts, and if he is seriously considering the Buckeyes, why state that publicly? Especially when Iowa says it wants no part of a prospect with one foot in and one foot out.

So, what's next?

"I am close to my final decision," Jacobs told me Tuesday.

Makes sense. The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder plans to graduate early and enroll wherever he commits for spring ball. So, expect things to happen soon. I wouldn't be surprised if Jacobs picks between Iowa and Ohio State without taking an official to Columbus.

Although, if the Buckeyes do get Jacobs on campus for an official, he's almost assuredly picking Ohio State. Iowa has already been quite lenient with its no-visit policy. Add an official visit to the unofficial visit Iowa tolerated? The rules of this game are "two strikes and you're out."

Jacobs earned his Ohio State offer in November, after a monster senior season that bumped him up to four stars and a top-200 prospect in the 247Sports rankings. 

It's interesting to note that Iowa's coaches haven't publicly pumped the brakes on their strict no-visit policy during this whole saga. A couple weeks ago, before Jacobs visited Columbus, Kirk Ferentz said he approaches the policy on a case-by-case basis.

But, he also said: "It’s like anything else: You don’t want somebody to join your team that doesn’t have both feet in. That’s not good for anybody."

Bell defended the policy on last week's HawkCentral radio show.

"Once you make a commitment, that’s what it is," he said. "And I think it’s not only a lesson for adults, but it’s a lesson for young adults and kids, as well, to understand what the word means. I think we do a really good job of allowing kids to go see what they need to see. We don’t put the screws to the kids their sophomore, their junior, even their seniors years. If they’re not committed to us, they have the liberty to visit whichever school they want to visit as many times as they want to visit. Ultimately, we want them to choose Iowa because that’s where they want to go to school, not because it’s where they have to go to school.

"So if you’re committed to us, we feel like we’ve given you ample opportunity to go see everything you need to see. But you know how college football is: The landscape is ever-changing. What it looked like in July might not look like that in November. Kids will be kids."

What are they chances we snag David Bell away from Purdue? Is it contingent on (Jeff) Brohm? — @HawkeyeZim

It's sounding like a coin flip between Purdue and Louisville right now for Brohm, and a decision is expected Wednesday. Our partners are the Indianapolis Star are doing a great job keeping their ears to the ground with this.

Purdue appears to be the front-runner for Bell now. If Brohm stays, that obviously doesn't change. I also don't know if it changes if Brohm leaves for Louisville. As I've written before, that depends on who stays in West Lafayette, how close Bell was to Prohm and who gets hired to replace Prohm.

With all that said, Iowa's chances with Bell are still slim. If he doesn't pick Purdue, Penn State looks like the second choice. 

Are big time programs done offering 2019 Iowa commits or might they still do so before the early signing period? — @iowafanwilliams

You never know. 

If bigger programs want to poach verbal commits in this early-signing-period era, they'll usually try to offer before December. It just allows for more time to build a relationship and set up a visit. That's what Ohio State did with Jacobs. Georgia offered Iowa quarterback recruit Alex Padilla in October, although he quickly affirmed his commitment to the Hawkeyes. 

Of course, it doesn't always happen that way.

LSU offered freshman defensive back D.J. Johnson on Dec. 4 last year. He stuck with the Hawkeyes. Michigan offered Iowa athlete recruit Ben VanSumeren on Dec. 14 last year, and he flipped to the Wolverines on Dec. 17. 

Iowa's been the "guilty" party, too. It flipped Seth Benson from South Dakota State after offering him last December. It flipped Nate Wieland from Northern Illinois back in January 2017. It happens.

City High quarterback Nate Wieland bursts through a hole in the Muscatine defense to score the Little Hawks' first touchdown late in the first quarter at Frank Bates Field Friday, October 7, 2016.

Other than Jacobs, I haven't heard anything about a shaky 2019 commitment. That doesn't mean things won't change. (This is the crazy world of recruiting, after all.)

So, we'll see. If I'm a Hawkeye fan, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.

You just won a billion dollars and decide to host a bowl game for Iowa. What's the name of the bowl game, what's the trophy and who does Iowa play? — @davidscrivner

OK. First of all: If I just won a billion dollars, I will be purchasing beachfront property in Kauai and planning my year-long trip across Europe.

But, because I like David and don't mind that he's a Duke fan, I'll play along.

It would be called the Cotton Ball Bowl, to commemorate the cotton Kirk Ferentz likely had to stuff under his lip after getting it bloodied in the Black Friday postgame celebration. (Not the Cotton Bowl. Don't mistake the two.)

In the spirit of shared experiences, every player, coach, referee, game official and fan would be required to have a cotton ball under their top lip. They can have a break at halftime, but that's it. Same with the broadcasters and reporters covering the game. Fans watching at home will just have to figure out what the heck the announcers are saying.

The trophy? Um, a giant cotton ball. That's self-explanatory.

Who does Iowa play? Florida. Because, in the words of my colleague Danny Lawhon, "It's always Florida."

You see Tyler Miller getting an offer from Iowa? — Josh Block


Miller, a 2020 offensive tackle out of Greene County, holds offers from Iowa State, Purdue, Minnesota, Nebraska, Purdue, Central Florida and South Dakota State. Although Iowa hasn't offered, it has consistently showed interest throughout his junior season.

That interest continued on Tuesday, when defensive line coach Reese Morgan went to Greene County to see Miller. 

It just feels like a matter of time here. Miller is a legitimate three-star prospect. At 6-foot-9, there's some risk. Smaller, quicker defensive ends could have a leverage advantage. But that height and wingspan also come with considerable upside. Miller is a nimble athlete with quick feet and good instincts. 

Greene County OT Tyler Miller (66) is committed to Iowa State.

He can afford to build up strength in his lower body, but Iowa would be confident in Chris Doyle's ability to do that.

Miller is also close with Josh Volk and Blaise Gunnerson, two fellow in-state 2020 linemen whom Iowa has offered. If those three are ever on a visit at the same time, you can bet they'll be together.

That's not to say they're a package deal.

It's simply another check in the "reasons to offer Tyler Miller" column.

Currently, Iowa State is the only school to have offered all three.

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_.