Breaking down Iowa football and basketball's huge recruiting weekend

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

When figuring out official visit dates, Iowa coaches told Xavier Foster they wanted to wait until there'd be a "great atmosphere" on Saturday, DaJuan Foster said.

So, they agreed on Oct. 11-13 — the weekend of the Penn State football game.

Turns out that was a good choice. The game, which features a top-20 matchup in the polls, will be played under the lights at Kinnick Stadium. It should be a sell-out crowd. And there will be plenty of other prospects on the sidelines, in basketball and football. 

Here's a breakdown:

Left to right: Xavier Foster, T.J. Bollers, Tamin Lipsey, Marcus Morgan


Xavier Foster, 2020, Oskaloosa: The athletic 7-footer will be on his final official visit, and he's set to announce his decision Nov. 11. His father told the Register they may still try to set up one more in-home visit with his finalist schools.

Oskaloosa junior Xavier Foster focuses on the ball as he battles for a rebound against Marion in their Class 3A quarterfinal game during the 2019 Iowa high school boys state basketball tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines.

Josh Ogundele, 2020, Worcester Academy (Massachusetts): Ogundele, a three-star center, is a recent offer who officially visited Rhode Island last weekend.

Treyton Thompson, 2021, La Lumiere (Indiana): The four-star, top-100 power forward will be on an official visit. He unofficially visited Marquette last week. Iowa has offered.

Payton Sandfort, 2021, Waukee: Sandfort, the Register's No. 4 in-state 2020 prospect, is set for an unofficial visit Saturday. The 6-6 wing holds offers from Iowa, Minnesota, Air Force, Utah, Drake and Loyola Chicago.

Waukee's Payton Sandfort (21) celebrates a three-point shot during their boys 4A state semi-final basketball tournament game on Thursday, March 7, 2019 in Des Moines. Dubuque Senior takes a 23-19 lead over Waukee into halftime.

Tamin Lipsey, 2022, Ames: Ames' phenom point guard will be an unofficial visitor Saturday. Iowa was in Ames to see him last week. While recovering from surgery on a torn ACL, Lipsey has also unofficially visited Iowa State, Michigan and Nebraska, and he's slated to visit Illinois next weekend. Iowa State and Nebraska have offered.

Ames' Tamin Lipsey brings the ball down the court during the boy's substate final between Ames and North High School on Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2019, in Ankeny.

Trey Lewis, 2022, Johnston: A skilled sophomore point guard, Lewis will be an unofficial visitor Saturday. Iowa and Baylor have shown early interest.


Most of Iowa's 2020 recruits are expected to be in attendance, as are a few in-state seniors having strong seasons. Iowa's current top 2020 target will be on hand, too.

But this is probably the biggest weekend in the 2021 class, as the Hawkeyes look to make a strong impression on juniors and continue their early start to that class.

Here are some, but obviously not all, of Iowa's notable football visitors:

Theo Johnson, 2020, Holy Names (Ontario, Canada): The four-star tight end is the top 2020 target on Iowa's board right now. He will be in Iowa City unofficially. He just saw the Hawkeyes last weekend during an official visit to Michigan. He is considering Iowa, Michigan, Penn State and Georgia.

T.J. Bollers, 2021, Clear Creek Amana: Iowa's top junior football prospect, Bollers will be at Iowa unofficially Saturday. The four-star defensive end has taken game-day visits to Vanderbilt, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Kansas State so far this fall.

Clear Creek-Amana's T.J. Bollers warms up during a Class 3A varsity football game, Friday, Sept., 27, 2019, at Liberty High School in North Liberty, Iowa.

Marcus Morgan, 2021, Iowa City West: The three-star quarterback/athlete doesn't hold an Iowa offer, but he's one of the state's most intriguing athletes. Morgan has the talent to go Division I in football, basketball or baseball. Iowa State has offered in football.

Iowa City West quarterback Marcus Morgan (2) drops back to pass during a Class 4A varsity football game, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, at Trojan Field in Iowa City, Iowa.

Brody Brecht, 2021, Ankeny: Brecht entered his junior year with lots of eyes on him, and he hasn't disappointed. The three-star, 6-4 target has 19 catches for 435 yards this fall. Iowa, Iowa State and Nebraska have offered.

Ankeny High junior wide receiver Brody Brecht (11) runs the reverse as the No. 9 Johnston Dragons battle against the Ankeny Hawks in the first half of play during the Class 4A game on Friday, September 6, 2019 at Ankeny Stadium.

Thomas Fidone, 2021, Lewis Central: Fidone, a long-armed, 6-5 tight end, is having a big junior season. He just picked up an offer from LSU, which joins Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska and Minnesota in the pursuit.

Griffin Liddle, 2021, Bettendorf: The three-star defensive tackle and son of former Hawkeye wrestler Josh Liddle holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Army, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska. 

Bettendorf defensive lineman Griffin Liddle (70) looks to the sideline during a Class 4A varsity football game, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, at Trojan Field in Iowa City, Iowa.

Zach Twedt, 2021, Roland-Story: A three-star athlete who's looking more and more like a college linebacker, Twedt will be in Iowa City again this weekend. He's still verbally committed to Iowa State, but the thought it he likely won't wind up there. Iowa has offered, and programs throughout the Midwest are interested.

Aaron Smith, 2021, Waukee: Smith, an agile running back/defensive back blend, has visited Iowa State twice this season. He's averaging 15.8 yards per carry and has 18 tackles so far this fall.

Cooper DeJean, 2021, OABCIG: DeJean is just one of those impressive four-sport athletes who will play something, and play it well, in college. Football and basketball are the two most likely options. The 6-2, 195-pounder has 1,941 total yards on offense and two interceptions (including a pick-six) on defense.

Tyler Maro, 2021, Davenport Assumption: At 6-7 and 240 pounds, Maro oozes potential at offensive tackle. This will be his second game-day visit to Iowa this fall. He has also visited Iowa State, Nebraska and Wisconsin.

A few other 2021 notes: Waukee defensive end Eddie Saidat won't be able to visit this Saturday, so he's set to be there for the Minnesota game on Nov. 16. Fort Dodge running back Dayson Clayton, who is picking up Power 5 interest, will be at Iowa next weekend for the Purdue game. And it's West Branch's homecoming, so three-star defensive end and Iowa target Jeff Bowie won't be at any game this weekend.

Dayson Clayton of Ft. Dodge runs the ball during a game against Roosevelt at Drake Friday, Oct. 4, 2019.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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