Breaking down Iowa's running back recruiting prospects: Eight targets to watch in 2019 class

Matthew Bain
Hawk Central

The backfield is an area of need for Iowa's 2019 recruiting class. We'll likely see the Hawkeyes try to bring in two new signees at running back, hoping to bolster the depth and upside of a thin position. 

Iowa running back coach Derrick Foster greets reporters on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018.

Option No. 1 has been clear for months: Four-star prospect Jirehl Brock of Quincy, Illinois, who will visit Iowa on June 22 and pick among the Hawkeyes, Iowa State, Minnesota and Northwestern.

Option No. 2 is likely Tyler Goodson, a three-star running back from North Gwinnett in Georgia, where he was teammates with Iowa linebacker signee Jayden McDonald. He already took an official to Iowa this spring.

But those two aren't the only running backs on the Hawkeyes' board. Derrick Foster and the coaching staff have their eyes on six additional running backs, too. 

Here's the latest regarding Iowa's recruitment of the eight running backs on its board.

Jirehl Brock (No. 21) will pick among Iowa State, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota and Purdue to play his college football.

Jirehl Brock

Quincy (Quincy, Illinois)

6 feet, 195 pounds

247Sports Composite: 4 stars; Rivals: 4 stars

Brock recently went in-depth with the Register regarding his recruitment with Iowa. He discussed how much he liked Foster, how he thinks he might redshirt as a freshman at Iowa and much more — including what he thinks of Iowa's offense.

"It’s kind of similar to what I do in high school already," Brock said. "It’s a between-the-tackles offense, and then get to the outside occasionally. That’s kind of what I’m looking for, but I’ll adapt to anything."

Brock is still in the deliberation phase, saying he'll take each official visit as a final evaluation opportunity for each school. He'll look to make a decision by late summer. The Hawkeyes were his first offer in March 2017, and they've been well-positioned since. 

Tyler Goodson

North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Georgia)

5-10, 190

247Sports Composite: 3 stars; Rivals: 3 stars

Goodson took Iowa's first official visit of this recruiting cycle in April. Since then, he has named Iowa among his final eight, along with Iowa State, Nebraska, West Virginia, Washington State, Michigan State and Wake Forest. He also took an official to West Virginia in April.

With McDonald already on the roster, the Hawkeyes have an in with Goodson. He has thought of Iowa as one of his top schools since at least early spring, and he has developed a good relationship with Foster, who has gone straight to work in Alabama and Georgia since joining the Hawkeyes.

Kyren Williams

St. John Vianney (St. Louis)

5-10, 200

247Sports Composite: 3 stars; Rivals: 3 stars

Williams recently named Iowa to his top eight, along with Michigan, Stanford, Illinois, Notre Dame, Missouri, Michigan State and Nebraska. He plays all over for Vianney — running back, slot receiver, outside receiver, wildcat quarterback and safety — but head coach Paul Day said Iowa is recruiting Williams as a running back. 

"If it’s a spread shotgun system, he probably would be dynamite as a hybrid slot-running back," Day said. "In power-run systems, he would be a great tailback. And I think, anywhere, he could play safety."

Day said Levar Woods has been the point man for Williams recruitment. He said Woods has known about Williams since he was a freshman and has done an "unbelievable job" recruiting him.

Iowa is very much in the picture, Day said.

"They’ve been there since the very, very beginning," he said. "Levar is such a straight shooter with everything. When Kyren was a sophomore, he was really honest and said, 'That’s a guy that’s an FBS player.'

"There are a lot of great universities in the country, but Iowa, in terms of what they have staff-wise, is as good as I’ve seen. Obviously, they’ve got continuity. Their guys have done a good job of building and maintaining relationships. And then, as far as I’m concerned, their fan base is as good as it gets."

Day said Williams could wait until next fall to make a decision, utilizing unofficial game-day visits to split hairs in his decision. He has taken several unofficials to Iowa; Day said no official to Iowa has been scheduled at this point.

Breece Hall

Northwest (Wichita, Kansas)

6-2, 205

247Sports Composite: 3 stars; Rivals: 2 stars

If the Hawkeyes want to fill their 2019 running back slots sooner than later, Hall could be a good option. He plans on graduating next December and early-enrolling at whichever school he chooses, Northwest head coach Steven Martin said.

"Right now," Martin said, "I think his main priority is he wants to be able to go somewhere where he feels that he can compete early since he’s going to be early-enrolling in spring ball."

Martin said, although he and Hall haven't discussed the Hawkeyes as much as other programs, Iowa is still among a group of six schools — along with Iowa State, Nebraska, TCU, Louisville and Kansas State — that Hall is considering right now.

Iowa took serious interest in Hall while recruiting Northwest defensive end Marcus Hicks. It loves Hall's physicality. Kelton Copeland has led this recruitment.

"Iowa’s really up there too because of their zone running scheme — that’s what Breece does," Day said. "Iowa runs more of a pro-style offense and they’ve had a lot of success with sending offensive linemen to the NFL. Those are things we talk about."

A.J. Finley

St. Paul's Episcopal (Mobile, Alabama)

6-2, 185

247Sports Composite: 3 stars; Rivals: 3 stars

If Foster is going to start a small-scale pipeline in Alabama, talent-rich St. Paul's Episcopal would be a great place to start. And Finley would be a great recruit to tip the scales.

St. Paul's head coach Steve Mask said Iowa is "absolutely — no question" one of the top schools for Finley. For one thing, Iowa is actively recruiting him at running back, while other schools see him as an athlete.

"Derek came down for spring recruiting and he and I had a good conversation," Mask said. "They see him being that big back. If you look at what Iowa’s done for years, they’ve always had that bigger back — that 6-2, 215 type of guy. And I think they think that’s what A.J. can be."

Other top schools for Finley include Ole Miss, Tennessee, Wake Forest and some local Group of Five schools such as Troy and South Alabama.

Mask said he, Finley and Finley's family will meet over the next couple weeks to discuss summer plans. He said Finley will likely visit Ole Miss before too long and he "would be shocked" if Finley isn't planning to get up to see Iowa this summer, too.

St. Paul's likes its rising seniors to pick a school by the time camp starts on Aug. 7, but that's my no means mandatory.

Jacardia Wright

St. Teresa (Decatur, Illinois)

6-0, 200

247Sports Composite: 3 stars; Rivals: 3 stars

Some classify Wright as an athlete, but Iowa is recruiting him at running back. The Hawkeyes offered him when he was a sophomore and continued to build their relationship with him at the March 3 junior day this year.

Wright has been a highly productive high school running back throughout his freshman, sophomore and junior seasons, and he has impressed thus far on the spring camp circuit, hauling in offers from Michigan State and Minnesota.

Larry McCammon

Hoover (Hoover, Alabama)

5-10, 200

247Sports Composite: 3 stars; Rivals: 3 stars

Another Alabama running back Foster has developed a relationship with, McCammon holds offers from Iowa, Ole Miss, Florida Atlantic, Troy, UAB and South Alabama, among others.

Foster offered McCammon three weeks after taking the Iowa job.

Nathaniel Peat

Rock Bridge (Columbia, Missouri)

5-8, 175

247Sports Composite: 3 stars; Rivals: 3 stars

The smallest running back on Iowa's board, Peat is an absolute lightning bolt with offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri, Minnesota, Kansas, Northwestern and Purdue.

He attended Iowa's Feb. 17 junior day, where he was able to develop a relationship with Foster.

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.