Iowa Eight football: Mount Vernon lineman Tristan Wirfs
School: Mount Vernon
Positions: Offensive tackle and defensive tackle
Weight: 317 pounds
Key stats: From out of the playoffs to six wins to the Class 2A title game in three seasons, Mount Vernon has improved and ridden Wirfs on both sides of the line. He recorded 31 tackles as a defensive tackle in 2015, but was even more impactful as a left tackle for a high-octane offense. Wirfs is a state champion track and field thrower, too, crushing the 3A competition with a 185-foot, 9-inch discus toss and a 60-1¼ shot put. And qualifying for state wrestling as a heavyweight further cements his athletic status.
Why he’s one of the Iowa Eight
Rated by 247 Sports as a four-star recruit and the second-best prospect in Iowa, Wirfs is a repeat Iowa Eight selection that has only boosted his stock since 2015. A force inside for Mount Vernon’s surprising runner-up finish, he’s gotten bigger, stronger and more refined.
“We had a great strength and agility program this summer and it really helped with my football,” Wirfs said.
“And this season I want to focus more on finishing blocks. Last year, I’d block a guy for a couple seconds and let them go downfield. I want to finish plays to the whistle.”
His athleticism and sheer size – up from 270 pounds as a junior – should be overwhelming for most Mustang opponents this fall. Especially since he’s seen more high-level talent at offseason camps and combines.
“He might not be as close to being a finished product technically, but he’s light on his feet and had outstanding results in track and field, which correlates to football success,” Scout.com Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu told the Register.
Wirfs will be part of a defensive line rotation for Mount Vernon, in an effort to keep him fresh for the hurry-up offense. He’s excited about a role that has him bouncing around from nose guard to edge rush spots.
Wirfs picked up college interest and Iowa Eight honors last summer because of his prototypical lineman frame and massive potential. Those only grew as 2015 went along and he committed to Iowa in December.
He chose the nearby Hawkeyes over an offer from Iowa State, though he’s still receiving scattered interest in the Big Ten, SEC and from Notre Dame.
“Tristan went to the (Nike) Opening Regional in Chicago having not been to a ton of camps like that before and not really seen elite speed rushers,” Trieu said. “That was a situation he could have easily struggled in, but he didn’t and made the final five on the offensive line.
“That camp gave us a glimpse into what he can be. He’s not as raw as we thought he might be.”
Wirfs projects as an offensive tackle, though his multi-sport ability and the importance Iowa places on versatility make him a candidate to move around. The Hawkeye track team is gauging his interest in college throws, too.
“Wirfs is extremely explosive and I haven’t seen many guys with as high a motor as him, especially from a down defensive lineman. He’ll rush, then make a play across the field and he just doesn’t give up on plays. It’s fun to watch his effort and desire to get to the ball. Offensively, he’s obviously an exceptional blocker and they try to do a lot of things behind him. I’d love to coach him.” – Spirit Lake head coach Josh Bolluyt
Other Iowa Eight selections
- Oliver Martin, Iowa City West wide reciever
- Jake Hummel, Dowling Catholic linebacker
- Zach Dykstra, Spirit Lake offensive/defensive lineman
- Devon Moore, Waterloo West quarterback
- Rocky Lombardi, W.D.M. Valley quarterback
- Mark Kallenberger, Bettendorf offensive lineman
About the Series
The Iowa Eight is the Register's preseason list of the eight best football players in the state of Iowa, weighing past performance and their projected future. Incoming freshmen through seniors are eligible. The team is selected based on Register staff observations and consultation with high school and college contacts. The Register will have additional Iowa Eight lists for key boys' and girls' sports throughout the year.