Here are 23 notable football recruiting targets visiting Iowa for the Penn State game

Alyssa Hertel
Hawk Central

The hottest ticket in college football this weekend is right here in Iowa, as the No. 3 Hawkeyes host No. 4 Penn State in what's being billed as the biggest game in Kinnick Stadium since 1985.

A game with this much hype is a wonderful opportunity to showcase a program, so Iowa is hosting plenty of recruiting targets as game-day visitors Saturday. Prospects ranging from the 2022 to 2025 classes are set to attend, with most already balancing offers from Iowa and a host of other schools.

Some of the top names to know are from within Iowa. Southeast Polk four-star 2022 safety Xavier Nwankpa — who is down to Iowa, Ohio State and Notre Dame and will be officially visiting Iowa this weekend — and five-star 2023 offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor will be in attendance, in addition to several other in-state players.

Could this be the final look some recruits need before making their final decision?

Here are some of the top targets the Register has confirmed are coming to Iowa vs. Penn State:

Xavier Nwankpa, safety, Southeast Polk

Class: 2022

Offers: Iowa, Ohio State, Notre Dame (plus 28 additional offers)

Analysis: Of course, the No. 1 recruit in Iowa and No. 3 safety in the nation for the class of 2022 wasn’t going to miss the Hawkeyes’ biggest game this season. Nwankpa started this season with 31 offers but recently narrowed down his top three, and Iowa made the cut. He’ll be in attendance Saturday, in what will be his final official visit before making his final decision. He does plan to still unofficially visit Ohio State and Notre Dame later this month, though.

MORE: Inside the origin story of Southeast Polk mega-prospect Xavier Nwankpa

Southeast Polk senior defensive back Xavier Nwankpa watches from the sideline as his Rams offense drive the ball upfield against West Des Moines Valley on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021, at Southeast Polk High School in Pleasant Hill.

Kadyn Proctor, offensive lineman, Southeast Polk

Class: 2023

Offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Alabama, Notre Dame, LSU, Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Clemson (plus 19 additional offers)

Analysis: Joining his Southeast Polk teammate, Proctor will take in his second Hawkeyes game this season. The 6-foot-8, 335-pound offensive tackle is the No. 1 recruit in Iowa's 2023 class and No. 5 recruit nationwide. Proctor had 31 offers to consider coming into his junior season, and he’s already chosen his top 12, even with his senior season left to play. 

Southeast Polk offensive linemen Kadyn Proctor (74) and Austin YoungÊ (65) double team Linn-Mar's Colton Waller (44) on Friday, Oct. 1, 2021, in Pleasant Hill.

J.J. Kohl, quarterback, Ankeny

Class: 2023

Offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Florida

Analysis: Kohl is the Register's No. 3 in-state 2023 prospect and a member of the 2021 Iowa Eight, a list of the state's eight best prospects, regardless of class. (Nwankpa and Proctor are also on that list.) Iowa State was the first school to offer Kohl but Iowa followed suit a week later. Ankeny’s only junior captain should be a strong target for the Hawkeyes, with the NFL-sized quarterback graduating as Iowa starter Spencer Petras finishes his senior year.

MORE: Inside J.J. Kohl's recruiting rise to become an elite 2023 quarterback

Ankeny High junior quarterback JJ Kohl (12) hands off to senior running back Colin Kadolph (32) Friday at home against Southeast Polk.

Kai Black, receiver/tight end, Urbandale

Class: 2023

Offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Wisconsin

Black is the Register's No. 4 in-state 2023 prospect and, like Kohl, Proctor and Nwankpa, a member of the prestigious Iowa Eight. He’s a dominant wide receiver for Urbandale’s offense but has the potential — and size — to transition to tight end in college. Black returns to Iowa City just two weeks after watching Iowa vs. Colorado State.

MORE: Meet Urbandale's Kai Black, a must-have recruit and modern Renaissance man

Urbandale junior wide receiver Kai Black poses for a photo at Frerichs Field in Urbandale on Thursday, Sept. 30 2021.

Jamison Patton, QB/athlete Roosevelt

Class: 2023

Offer: Iowa State

Analysis: Patton, the Register's No. 9 in-state 2023 prospect, holds just the one offer from Iowa State right now, but it’s still early for the 2023 athlete. Despite quarterbacking Des Moines Roosevelt, the Cyclones offered Patton as a safety and he worked out as a defensive back at Iowa’s camp in June. Saturday will be his first game-day visit in Iowa City and could breathe new life into his recruitment.

MORE: Why Jamison Patton decided to stay at Des Moines Roosevelt

Roosevelt junior quarterback Jamison Patton (2) gains valuable yardage as the Roosevelt Roughriders compete against the Waukee Warriors during the first half of play of Week 2 on Friday, September 3, 2021, at Waukee Stadium.

Andrew DePaepe, defensive end, Pleasant Valley

Class: 2023

Offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan, Nebraska, Washington, Arizona State (plus seven additional offers)

Analysis: If Kadyn Proctor wasn't in Iowa, DePaepe, the 6-5, 240-pound defensive end, would be getting a lot more in-state 2023 attention. He's the Register's No. 2 prospect in the class, another Iowa Eight member and a must-have for programs across the Midwest. The Hawkeyes offered him back in February, right after Iowa State and Kansas State. Minnesota became his latest offer this week.

Kyler Kasper, receiver, Williams Field (Arizona)

Class: 2023

Offers: Iowa, Iowa State, Arizona State, USC, Tennessee, Colorado (plus 11 additional offers)

Analysis: Kasper is a four-star wide receiver out of Gilbert, Arizona, but he boasts several connections to Iowa. Kasper’s father, Kevin, was a walk-on at Iowa before becoming the program’s all-time receptions leader for a game, season and career. Kyler also played 7-on-7 football with Nwankpa this summer for Tuscon Turf and the two appear excited to reconnect at Kinnick on Saturday.

Cayden Green, offensive lineman, Lee’s Summit North (Missouri)

Class: 2023

Offers: Iowa, Oklahoma, LSU, Georgia, Michigan, Florida  (plus 26 additional offers)

Analysis: Green, a four-star prospect ranked No. 61 in the 2023 class by the 247Sports Composite, will make the trip up from Missouri for his first game-day visit to Iowa. The 6-5, 310-pound offensive tackle is the No. 1 player in Missouri and the No. 5 offensive tackle in the country. He’ll be joining fellow junior offensive lineman Proctor on the sidelines Saturday. Early chatter is that Oklahoma and Iowa are strong contenders.

Lee's Summit North offensive tackle Cayden Green celebrates as the Broncos improved to 1-0 with a 28-10 win over Blue Springs South.

Joshua Mickens, defensive end, Lawrence Central (Indiana)

Class: 2023

Offers: Iowa, Michigan Indiana, Iowa State, Michigan State, Missouri, Purdue, Rutgers (plus seven additional offers)

Analysis: Mickens is the No. 3 recruit out of Indiana and No. 234 nationwide. The four-star defensive end will make his first trip to Iowa City after receiving an offer from the Hawkeyes in mid-September. He pairs a promising 6-4, 225-pound frame with impressive athleticism. Iowa traditionally recruits well in the Indianapolis area, but there's no real clear indication of favorites here yet.

Joshua Mickens, junior defensive end at Lawrence Central.

Adarius Hayes, linebacker, Largo (Florida)

Class: 2024

Offers: Iowa, Penn State, Ohio State, Maryland (plus six additional offers)

Analysis: Hayes already has 10 offers as a sophomore. The four-star recruit is the No. 6 linebacker and No. 73 player in the country for the 2024 class. He also has a connection to the Hawkeyes, with Largo’s head coach being Iowa alumnus Marcus Paschal, who will be in Iowa City with his linebacker. Hayes picked a good game, with offers from both Iowa and Penn State on the table. Iowa has landed three recruits from Largo High since 2018, but only one (receiver Calvin Lockett) is still on the roster.

Dae’vonn Hall, receiver, Bellevue West (Nebraska)

Class: 2024

Offers: Iowa, Kansas State, Nebraska

Analysis: Hall is another four-star 2024 recruit coming to Kinnick on Saturday. He’s the No. 1 prospect in the state of Nebraska, No. 16 wide receiver and No. 75 player in the nation for his class. The Hawkeyes were the first school to offer the 6-1, 180-pound wide receiver, and Saturday will be Hall’s second visit to Iowa. He comes from the same high school program that produced Hawkeye freshman receiver Keagan Johnson, so a big game from him certainly wouldn't hurt.

Trey Porter, defensive back, Ankeny Centennial

Class: 2022

Offers: Committed to Northern Illinois

Analysis: Porter, a 6-foot, 170-pound defensive back who can play anywhere in the secondary, will be on the sidelines for Iowa vs. Penn State. The Register's No. 20 in-state 2022 prospect, Porter committed to Northern Illinois back in April after landing offers from NIU and Buffalo. But the Hawkeyes have kept an eye on him, and this will be his second game-day visit to Iowa City. Iowa is still looking for its first defensive back in the 2022 class. We'll see if it tries to flip Porter.

Ankeny Centennial kick returner and Northern Illinois recruit Trey Porter (7) takes off for a big gain as the Jaguars compete against Indianola during the game's first half on Friday, Aug. 27, 2021, in Indianola.

Keith Moko, DB, Newton

Class: 2022

Offers: Committed to Northern Iowa

Analysis: The 6-2, 175-pound Moko, ranked the Register's No. 23 in-state 2022 prospect, is another potential late Hawkeye flip candidate. Moko committed to Northern Iowa back in August after racking up summer offers from St. Thomas, North Dakota, Indiana State and UNI. The Hawkeyes are monitoring him this season.

Other notable recruits who are visiting

Charles Jagusah (four-star DL, 2023, Rock Island, Illinois)

Tyler Grant (Three-star DL, 2023, St. Louis, Missouri)

Trevor Lauck (three-star OL, 2023, Indianapolis, Indiana)

Asa Newsom (three-star LB, 2023, Waverly, Iowa)

Jaziun Patterson (three-star RB, 2022 recruit, Deerfield Beach, Florida)

Aaron Graves (four-star DE, 2022 recruit, Gowrie, Iowa)

Kale Krogh (three-star OL, 2022 recruit, Huxley, Iowa)

Ben Kueter (three-star LB, 2023 recruit, Iowa City, Iowa)

Maddux Borcherding-Johnson (three-star DL, 2023 recruit, Norwalk, Iowa)

Cody Fox (OL, 2024 recruit, Winthrop, Iowa)

Alyssa Hertel is a college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel