Hawkeye film room: Breaking down Iowa's eight new 2020, 2021 and 2022 recruits
There wasn't much time to come up for air this week during Iowa football's recruiting frenzy. That's what happens when you land eight recruits in five days.
So now, with the storm of commitments seemingly settled for the time being, we've got some time to sit back, dig into film and review what exactly what the Hawkeyes came away with after one of their busiest recruiting weeks in recent history.
Going in chronological order of commitment date ...
Connor Colby, OL
Height/weight: 6-foot-6, 270 pounds
School: Cedar Rapids Kennedy
Colby is a big kid, but his dominance comes down to footwork and fundamentals. His feet are constantly churning, so he's hard to knock off-balance. His back is upright. He doesn't lunge. He's got a quick first step in pass protection. He explodes up into his defender with good leverage. Still, Colby is not close to a finished product. That's what makes him such an exciting four-star prospect.
A.J. Lawson, CB
Height/weight: 6-1, 180
School: MacArthur (Decatur, Illinois)
Lawson also plays receiver in high school, and he showcases sticky hands and good instincts when the ball is in the air. His ability to stay glued to his man is impressive. He threads the needle of too much contact as he blankets receivers down the field. In other words, he's the type of cornerback receivers hate.
Brenden Deasfernandes, CB
Height/weight: 6-1, 160
School: Belleville (Belleville, Michigan)
There isn't a bunch to see in Deasfernandes' junior film, and that's probably one of the reasons he had no other Division I offers. But, in person, Iowa liked what it saw from him at the Lindenwood camp in May. Defensive coordinator Phil Parker has proven his skills at evaluating, and finding, diamonds in the rough. Let's see if he found another.
Jay Higgins, LB
Height/weight: 6-2, 215
School: Brebeuf Jesuit (Indianapolis, Indiana)
Higgins is especially strong in rush defense, as he anticipates well and fills the gaps with force. He also shows promise in pass coverage. He isn't the fastest or flashiest defender — not the type that Power 5s are going to be all over. But I can definitely see why Iowa wanted him: He's a sure tackler with the defensive versatility the Hawkeyes require from their linebackers.
Lukas Van Ness, DE
Height/weight: 6-5, 240
School: Barrington (Barrington, Illinois)
Van Ness has a Big Ten frame with room for added bulk. He can get to the quarterback in a variety of ways, whether it's bull-rushing his man, shedding the blocker or controlling the tackle's outside shoulder thanks to a solid first step. Van Ness' speed does not jump out in his film, but he does show good ball pursuit and instincts in rush defense.
Reggie Bracy, S
Height/weight: 6-0, 190
School: St. Paul's Episcopal (Mobile, Alabama)
Bracy, who also plays running back, probably has the best film of the 2020 recruits, and I'm a bit surprised more Power 5s weren't on him. Iowa and Indiana were the main two. He can play all over the field — safety, cornerback, linebacker — and his closing speed is excellent. Although he may not be the most technically sound defensive back, his athleticism jumps off the screen. Technique can be taught. Pure talent can't.
Aaron Witt, DE
Height/weight: 6-5, 230
School: Winona (Winona, Minnesota)
Another prospect with room to grow in Iowa's weight program, Witt is an aggressive defensive end whose pursuit of the ball is relentless. He can use speed to get around his man, but his strong hands and ability to joust his way past capable blockers stands out. Pair those technical skills with a great first step, and you've got a promising Big Ten defensive end.
Aaron Graves, DE
Height/weight: 6-4, 230
School: Southeast Valley (Gowrie, Iowa)
Graves is a young, raw, bull-in-a-china-shop talent who has a chance to be scary good down the line. He mostly beats his men right now by simply overpowering them. He did so en route to 15 solo tackles for loss and 11 solo sacks as a freshman. Hawkeye fans will enjoy watching him transform into a dominant force over the next three years.
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_.