There are shades of Anthony Nelson in Van Meter DE Chris Reames, an in-state senior playing the waiting game

Matthew Bain
The Des Moines Register

VAN METER, Ia. — If you're a borderline Power Five college football prospect, senior year can be stressful. You're playing a waiting game.

Will the bigger programs interested in you miss on their top targets and offer you?

Van Meter's Sam Thompson and Chris Reames (87) tackle West Lyon's Logan Meyer during their 1A semifinal game at the UNI Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017.

Or should you accept an FCS or Group of Five scholarship offer in case those spots get taken?

That's where Van Meter senior Chris Reames sits right about now. A 6-foot-7, 220-pound defensive end, Reames holds 14 offers from FCS, Ivy League and Group of Five programs, including Air Force, Eastern Michigan, Army, Northern Iowa and North Dakota State. But he also has interest from Iowa, Iowa State and Minnesota. Nebraska and UCLA recently reached out to him on Twitter, too. 

Reames said he's OK waiting right now, although it can make him anxious sometimes. Even if some schools fill their needs at defensive end, with 14 offers, he'll have options when the time comes. He said he's going to play out his senior season and evaluate from there.

"I’m going to wait and see what happens," Reames said. "Wherever is right is where I’m going to go."

We've seen a fringe in-state Power Five prospect haul in a late offer as recently as two years ago, when City High linebacker Nate Wieland flipped from Northern Illinois to Iowa when the Hawkeyes offered him in January. (Wieland has since left the program.)

Outside Iowa, we saw South Dakota linebacker Seth Benson pick up a late Iowa offer and commit to the Hawkeyes over South Dakota State last year.

Reames was originally scheduled to visit Minnesota last weekend, but he needed to attend a family event. He said he might reschedule the Minnesota unofficial. In terms of officials, he's already planning one to Army. 

Should he choose Army, Reames would become its second Iowa recruit in 2019, joining Iowa City West linebacker Cole Mabry.

"I like (Army). I like what they can do for me after college," Reames said. "It’s not just a college commitment, though. It’s not a five-year commitment. It’s a 25-year commitment."

Of the Power Five interest, Iowa is most intriguing here. Reames has visited Iowa City twice this season, most recently for the Wisconsin game. And assistant defensive line coach Kelvin Bell watched Reames' Sept. 14 game against Woodward-Granger. The Hawkeyes want another defensive end, and it's clear that Reames is on their board.

But where is he on that board? The Hawkeyes recently offered Keith Randolph, a three-star prospect out of Illinois, and they stand well with Iowa Western product Malcolm Lee. They also have an offer out to Georgia three-star Tomari Fox.

"It’s just, I think I’m in that spot — they’re trying to see who they can land," Reames said. "If they can’t get a four- or five-star, it’s going to be me — (that's) what I interpret of it. But they just want me to keep grinding, keep playing well and good things will happen.

"They like how fast I can play. They also like my size. Coach (Reese) Morgan always talks to me about Anthony Nelson, how he came to Iowa weighing 215 and he was 6-foot-7, too."

The Anthony Nelson comparison is interesting. Remember, Nelson was originally committed to Iowa State ... until Iowa offered him in December. It's not exactly a case of the waiting game panning out, but it is a case of Iowa waiting to extend an offer until after an in-state prospect's senior year.

In terms of size, Reames is obviously similar to Nelson. That's his strongest asset right now — especially when you could see him potentially develop like Nelson in college, adding on 50 pounds to become a destructive force. As high-schoolers, they both paired length with athleticism to wreak havoc on an offense.

Reames is more a case of projection, though. Playing small-school competition, he doesn't need to be as technically sound as Nelson was. He doesn't need to utilize leverage or different pass-rushing strategies as much. He doesn't need as much power. He can usually shed his blocker and use his speed to cause problems.

So, Reames will need time to develop in whichever college program he chooses.

"They just see potential in me and what they could make me eventually," Reames said of the Power Fives looking at him. "You can’t teach height."

No, you certainly can't. The potential is there with Reames.

Matthew Bain covers college football and basketball recruiting for the Des Moines Register. He also helps out with Iowa and Iowa State football and basketball coverage for HawkCentral and Cyclone Insider. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.