Hawkeye recruiting mailbag: What's the latest with Iowa's recent offers and interest?
A lot to discuss, so let's dive straight into the questions.
What positions or how many more at some positions do you think the Hawkeye coaches want in the 2019 class? — @iowafanwilliams
The time between the end of the regular season and the early signing period will always be hectic. For those few weeks, teams evaluate remaining needs, and essentially leave no stone unturned as they try to fill as many of those needs before spring.
So if you've noticed Iowa coaches visiting prospects across the country and extending a few offers lately, that's why.
Based on the actions of Iowa's staff, it appears the Hawkeyes are homing in on five or six positions: defensive end, cornerback, linebacker, receiver/tight end and running back.
Let's break it down position by position ...
Three-star Ohio product Kay'Ron Adams has emerged as the main name to watch here. Adams, a Rutgers commit, confirmed with me that he'll take an official visit to Iowa City this weekend. He attends Warren G. Harding, the alma mater of former Hawkeyes Leshun Daniels and James Daniels.
"I’m just looking to check out campus and talk to players about the school just to see if Iowa is a fit for me," Adams told me. "Coaches at Iowa just said I can come and compete to show I can play. I fit in with the offense they run now."
Adams said he wants to sign in December. So, if he likes what he sees this weekend, things could develop quickly.
Regardless of what happens with Jestin Jacobs, the Hawkeyes have been looking to add another linebacker to this class.
The main target to watch is Yahweh Jeudy, a three-star prospect out of Florida. He is currently committed to Kansas State, but he will also be taking an official visit to Iowa this weekend after picking up a Hawkeye offer on Monday.
Iowa visited Clyde Price, a two-star Kansas City product, a couple weeks ago. He told me he hasn't heard much from the Hawkeyes since the visit. Price holds offers from Kansas State, Missouri State and Northern Iowa, among others.
One guy I personally like is Willie O'Hara, the linebacker out of Iowa Western. He's a Dowling Catholic alumnus who broke the Iowa Western program record with a jaw-dropping 164 tackles this year. Head coach Scott Strohmeier loves this kid and thinks he's a sure-fire FBS linebacker, but O'Hara, who will be a December graduate, told me he hasn't heard from Iowa. The main schools involved are Indiana State, Missouri State and Southeast Missouri State.
Two Iowa cornerbacks — Trey Creamer and Josh Turner — have announced their intent to transfer over the past couple weeks.
And one potential target, Chicago product Jermari Harris, told me Hawkeye coaches have told him they're looking to add two more corners in the 2019 class. Harris took an unofficial visit to Iowa last Friday.
"They really wanted to get to know me," he said of Iowa's coaches. "I’ve been in contact almost every day (since the visit)."
The Hawkeyes haven't offered Harris yet. He holds offers from North Dakota, North Dakota State, UNI and Eastern Illinois, among others. He isn't committed to signing in December.
"I would like to but I’m not sure," Harris said. "If Iowa were to offer before (the early signing period), I’d sign."
Iowa visited New Jersey three-star prospect Darius Gooden last week. He told me he hasn't heard from Iowa since then.
Defensive coordinator Phil Parker also visited Michigan three-star Joshua DeBerry last week. Iowa offered last February.
Offensive line coach Tim Polasek reached out to Ellsworth Community College defensive back Naeem Smith last Sunday, Smith told me. An Iowa City High graduate, Smith has picked up offers from Rice, Old Dominion and UNI after a big season at Ellsworth. He's taking an official to Rice this weekend. He said he hasn't heard from the Hawkeyes since Sunday.
Iowa wants to add another defensive end. Keith Randolph, a three-star prospect from Illinois, has been a longtime target, although he's trending toward other schools. He visited Michigan State last weekend and will take his last official to Illinois this weekend.
Keep an eye on Prince Okituama, a three-star prospect out of West Side High in Newark, New Jersey — the same high school as Gooden. Assistant defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Kelvin Bell has been in to see Okituama a couple times this week, and he's planning to take an official to Iowa City in January.
An offer would likely come during the official.
"(That's) on the table," Okituama said. "The coaches have just been talking to me about the game of football."
Another name to monitor could be Fred Stokes, a defensive end out of Montini Catholic just outside Chicago — the same school as Harris. Stokes told me Bell visited him at school on Tuesday. He holds interest from Western Illinois, UConn and Northern Illinois, among others. At 6-foot-5 and just 200 pounds, Stokes, who also played tight end in high school, would be a project.
"(They'd) want me to play defensive end," Stokes said, "and put lots of weight onto me."
Wide receiver, tight end
After missing on David Bell, Iowa is still looking to add another receiver to the class. And with the possibility of T.J. Hockenson leaving for the NFL, Iowa is looking at potential tight end targets, as well.
Two names stand out the most: Tre'Von Morgan and Charles Njoku.
Iowa offered Morgan in late November, after his stock blossomed thanks to a monster senior season at Washington High in Massillon, Ohio. He took an official visit to Iowa State last weekend; Matt Campbell is also from Massillon.
There isn't much linking Morgan to Iowa, but that doesn't mean Iowa's out of it. There's not a lot out there linking the three-star prospect to any school. He's kept pretty quiet and doesn't seem in a rush to make a decision.
Njoku, a three-star prospect out of New Jersey, is more of a receiver/tight end blend. The younger brother of Cleveland Browns tight end David Njoku, Charles holds offers from Iowa State, Indiana, Nebraska and Purdue, among others.
He told me he's looking to schedule an official visit to Iowa State soon. He didn't mention Iowa. I get the feeling the Hawkeyes would be a bigger factor if they offered.
Iowa coaches were also in Pickerington, Ohio, last week to see Tyler Foster, a three-star tight end committed to Ohio. He told me he’s been in routine contact with Iowa since that visit. He said the Hawkeyes invited him for an official visit this weekend, but his family was not able to make that work.
Do you think (Iowa) wants more (running backs) because they were unhappy with the lack of playmakers or is it because they might be losing a RB to transfer? — @jonnyhawkeye
I'd say it's more the former, but I wouldn't rule out the latter. Attrition happens every year.
If Ivory Kelly-Martin, Toren Young and Mekhi Sargent combined to form a world-beating backfield last season, Iowa likely doesn't feel as pressed to fill the running back slot left open by Kyshaun Bryan's transfer. In fact, at the time of the transfer, Iowa didn't appear to be in a rush to find another running back.
But the backfield left plenty to be desired in 2018.
And when you combine that with a lack of depth at the position and the fact that several more scholarships have opened up recently, it just makes sense to use one of those spots on another running back.
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What's your gut tell you on Jacobs? Is he a Hawk or did they flip him in (Columbus)? — @RayJOrtega
My gut says he sticks with Iowa.
I said last week that the longer this thing drags out, the bigger Ohio State's chances get. And I still think that. But I just don't know if those Buckeye chances are ever going to get big enough to pull Jacobs from Iowa.
From the beginning of this whole saga, Jacobs and his family have stayed firmly loyal to Iowa in the public eye — something they didn't have to do. Whether that was in what they've said during interviews, or Jacobs posting a picture of him in a Hawkeye jersey as part of his U.S. Army All-American announcement. All that matters.
Jacobs could have unpinned his Iowa commitment tweet, but he's kept that pinned right at the top of his profile. That matters, too. (Imagine reading "unpinned his Iowa commitment tweet" in 2000 and wondering what in the world I was talking about.)
Iowa showed faith in Jacobs early, well before Ohio State, which didn't offer Jacobs — who lives an hour from campus — until they decided they wanted to add another linebacker in 2019. Heck, Iowa has been so loyal to Jacobs that it has bent its no-visit policy every which way to keep him in the program.
More and more these days, I'm seeing recruits value loyalty and stay with the program that saw potential in them first, even if that means turning down a powerhouse.
(Is Iowa) recruiting any punters for next year? — Kenneth Smith
Iowa doesn't have a pure punter in its 2019 class yet. But it did just land a kicker who also punted in high school.
Lucas Amaya, out of Muskego, Wisconsin, accepted a preferred walk-on offer from Iowa this week. He's a big, 6-3, 205-pound kicker who held a D-I offer from South Dakota. Iowa had long had him on his radar, hosting him for visits in the spring and fall.
Kohl's Kicking ranks Amaya the No. 96 kicker in the 2019 class.
"He has D1 physical abilities," Amaya's Kohl's Kicking profile reads. "Creating cleaner contact and more control on field goals and kickoffs will be key for his development. ... He has picked up punting and is making improvements as he gets more comfortable with it. Keeping the drop to the outside and using his natural lefty swing up and through will be key for his continued development as he places ball into his left leg power zone."
Due to a miscommunication between the Register and Tyler Foster, an earlier version of this story Iowa had not been in contact with Foster since coaches visited him last week.
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_.