Hawkeye film room: Iowa TE recruit Elijah Yelverton is a pass-catching machine
The Hawkeyes landed a big commitment Friday from Dallas tight end Elijah Yelverton, who picked Iowa over LSU, Penn State, Ole Miss and Arkansas.
Yelverton, who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, logged 23 catches for 364 yards and four touchdowns with Bishop Dunne last season.
247Sports gives him three stars and ranks him No. 539 overall in 2020 and 15th among the tight ends. Rivals also gives him three stars and ranks him No. 11 among junior tight ends. The Dallas Morning News pegs Yelverton as its No. 30 overall prospect in the Dallas area and No. 1 among tight ends.
Yelverton's film shows an athlete whose route-running and catching abilities are not far from college-ready. If we're comparing him to Iowa's duo of future NFL Draft picks, Yelverton is more like Noah Fant than T.J. Hockenson right now.
Let's take a look at what makes Yelverton stand out in this Hawkeye film room session.
A plug-and-play offensive threat
Yelverton lines up from just about everywhere in his film package. Out wide, in the slot, as an H-back and, of course, with his hand in the dirt — although he appears to be most comfortable out wide or in the slot. With his versatility in Bishop Dunne's passing game, Yelverton also boasts an impressive route tree for a high school junior, and he ran each cleanly in his film. From bubble screens to deep routes, he's a wide-ranging threat.
Grade A receiver skills
At times, Yelverton simply looks like a big-bodied receiver. He runs well, elevates well and has excellent hands and concentration. Watch at the 15-second mark, when he snares a one-handed grab on a deep ball while the defender is holding him. Or at the 38-second mark, you'll see him make a diving catch in the rain. With those skills and his size, Yelverton is a ready-made red-zone target.
The ability to block is there
His film is heavy on receiving, but there are some good blocks dotted throughout. At the 2:10 mark, he does well maintaining his block and setting the edge. He shows the same ability at the 6-minute mark. There are a few examples of interior blocking, blocking as a receiver and getting to the next level. So, while receiving is his calling card right now, Yelverton is a physical player (who also plays defensive end), and it's clear he embraces contact. That's a solid foundation for a good blocker.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.