Iowa football has an incredible start on its 2024 recruiting class: What's next for the Hawkeyes?
When Monticello three-star athlete Preston Ries committed to Iowa football over the weekend, the Hawkeyes secured their fourth in-state prospect of the 2024 class and jumped up in the national recruiting rankings.
Obviously it's early. Quite early. Those rankings will fluctuate as other programs pick up recruits and evaluators get a better read on prospects. But for now, the Hawkeyes can relish in the in-state recruiting wins.
With four commits already in the rising junior class, let’s look at how this early recruiting success affects the Hawkeyes, what this means for Iowa’s status with other prospects and which player could be the next priority.
Iowa picks up four of top five in-state recruits over Iowa State
Here is a breakdown of Iowa’s 2024 class so far: interior offensive lineman Cody Fox, linebacker Cam Buffington, and athletes Derek Weisskopf and Preston Ries.
Fox, a four-star product out of East Buchanan, committed to Iowa first, in June 2021, just two weeks after picking up his first and only Division I offer. Winfield-Mt. Union’s Cam Buffington followed suit, committing in July 2021 after receiving an offer the month prior.
Weisskopf and Ries are more recent additions, committing to Iowa in April and May 2022, respectively. While Fox and Buffington left little time for other schools to extend offers before picking the Hawkeyes, Weisskopf and Ries each had at least two other offers to consider.
Already having four commits in the 2024 class is significant, but Iowa also picked up four of the top five recruits in the state, right now. Fox is the No. 1 player in Iowa, Buffington is No. 2, Weisskopf is No. 3 and Ries is No. 5, according to the 247Sports composite.
Who is the No. 4 player, the one that Iowa hasn’t secured for a clean sweep of the state’s current top five?
That would be Bondurant-Farrar’s Titus Cram. He holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State and Nebraska, and after an impressive sophomore season, should see a few more schools show interest over the summer evaluation period.
“Immediately, I think Titus Cram is the next in-state player who has an Iowa offer and I think they would kind of look to move on (him) as far as getting him committed to the class,” said Allen Trieu, who covers Midwest football recruiting for 247Sports.
“It would not surprise me — because this is spring eval and then you go into summer camp season — to see them find a couple more 2024s to offer. But he’s the one that I think the attention kind of shifts to now as he’s the one that’s on watch.”
Hawkeyes can’t count on in-state wins as much anymore, but this group goes against the grain
From Matt Campbell’s turnaround of the Iowa State program to teams like Nebraska and Wisconsin recruiting Iowa high school players more, the Hawkeyes aren’t always the shoo-in for top Iowa talent.
The most recent example of that is four-star defensive lineman Hunter Deyo, who is the highest-rated recruit to choose the Cyclones over Iowa in the Campbell era.
Sure, Iowa has more competition when it comes to in-state recruits, but a couple of losses doesn’t mean the Hawkeyes are struggling to pull in Iowa’s top high school players. Look no further than Xavier Nwankpa, a five-star defensive back who chose Iowa over 30 other programs.
But to pull in four of the top players in the state before they’ve started their junior season … well that speaks to Iowa's recruiting momentum.
“It tells you that in-state kids grow up wanting to be Hawkeyes,” Trieu said. “And it doesn’t really matter who else comes in and offers them, Iowa is an offer that these kids will jump on, if given the opportunity.”
That was evident with Fox and Buffington, in particular. While both players could have waited for spring evaluations and summer camps to see what other programs were interested, they jumped on the Iowa offer. Those two players weren’t waiting for any offer. Fox and Buffington wanted to be Hawkeyes, so why wait around after securing an offer from Iowa.
What does this mean for Iowa heading into summer camps?
Well, for starters, the Hawkeyes can focus a bit more on securing commitments from those undecided 2023 and 2024 athletes. Cram is a big name in the 2024 class, but Iowa can’t forget about its top target, five-star offensive tackle Kadyn Proctor.
The Hawkeyes can also use the summer to identify a few more players who they haven’t offered yet, as kids coming off their sophomore and junior seasons look to camps for a bump in their recruitment.
Regardless of what happens, Iowa has laid the foundation for its future with an impressive 2024 class. And as seen with the surge of late commitments after Nwankpa’s decision, momentum in recruiting is very real.
“I think that’s always good to start your foundation in your state,” Trieu said. “These kids do recruit each other. … Now, as they try to build the class and expand out, they’re gonna get guys from other states in the class, but the foundation is still at home.”
Alyssa Hertel is a college sports recruiting reporter for the Des Moines Register. Contact Alyssa at email@example.com or on Twitter @AlyssaHertel.