2021 DE prospect Jeff Bowie details his big recruiting summer. Hawk Central


The Iowa Eight is the Register’s preseason list of the eight best football prospects in the state, weighing past performance and future projection. Incoming freshmen through seniors are eligible. Selections are based on Register staff observations and consultation with recruiting contacts.

Here is the 2019 Iowa Eight for football, along with the players who just missed the cut:

Blaise Gunnerson

School: Kuemper Catholic

Class: 2020

Position: Defensive end

Size: 6-foot-5, 250 pounds

College: Nebraska

Why he made the Iowa Eight: The torn labrum that forced Gunnerson to miss his junior season was a blessing in disguise. During surgery, doctors removed extra bone growth on his hip, which had limited his mobility. Now, Gunnerson is healthier than before. He's a daunting, explosive athlete and a violent pass-rusher. He picked Nebraska over Iowa State, Iowa, Minnesota and Kansas State. 

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Josh Volk

School: Cedar Rapids Xavier

Class: 2020

Position: Offensive guard

Size: 6-4, 295

College: Iowa

Why he made the Iowa Eight: Volk has fallen a bit under the radar since tearing his ACL last November. Expect that to change. At full health, Volk is one of the Midwest's best offensive lineman. He's a mobile, powerful multi-sport athlete who happens to be 6-4 and about 300 pounds. His balance is good, and he's an excellent lead blocker who can get out in front of plays at the second level. He picked Iowa over Iowa State and Nebraska.

Logan Jones

School: Lewis Central

Class: 2020

Position: Defensive lineman

Size: 6-3, 255

College: Iowa

Why he made the Iowa Eight: Jones is all about versatility on the defensive line. He's a disruptive, plug-and-play guy who works just as effectively on the edge as he does the interior. He racked up solo 22 tackles for loss and eight solo sacks last year. Although his frame isn't huge, he's a high-motor prospect who plays a bit like current Hawkeye Tyler Linderbaum. Jones picked Iowa over Nebraska, Iowa State and Minnesota.

Hunter Dekkers

School: West Sioux

Class: 2020

Position: Quarterback

Size: 6-3, 220

College: Iowa State

Why he made the Iowa Eight: Dekkers shot up recruiting boards this spring and summer thanks to his performances on the Elite 11 circuit. And it makes sense why. He looks like a well-built linebacker, he runs like a running back, and he throws and makes decisions like a high-level quarterback. As a junior, Dekkers amassed 4,215 total yards and 55 touchdowns. He picked the Cyclones over Indiana, Purdue and Kansas State.

Gavin Williams

School: Dowling Catholic

Class: 2020

Position: Running back

Size: 6 feet, 195

College: Iowa

Why he made the Iowa Eight: Williams combines good size and speed to form a north-south wrecking ball who can build considerable momentum. He proved what he was capable of during Southeast Polk's postseason run last year, when he amassed 378 yards (6.1 yards per carry) against three of the state's best defenses. He is poised for a big senior season running behind Dowling Catholic's offensive line.

T.J. Bollers

School: Clear Creek Amana

Class: 2021

Position: Defensive end

Size: 6-3, 240

College: Undecided

Why he made the Iowa Eight: Bollers combines an imposing, and still-growing, frame with elite athleticism and a humble determination to improve every day. He already holds offers from Iowa State, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan, Michigan State, Cal, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Kansas State and Minnesota, and Stanford is interested, too. He logged 45.5 tackles, 13 solo tackles for loss and four solo sacks last year.

Connor Colby

School: Cedar Rapids Kennedy

Class: 2021

Position: Offensive lineman

Size: 6-6, 275

College: Iowa

Why he made the Iowa Eight: One of the most fundamentally sound rising-junior offensive linemen you'll see, Colby combines his technically sound play with an imposing frame and light-footed agility. By the time he committed to Iowa in June, he already held other offers from Iowa State, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Nebraska and Virginia Tech.

Jeff Bowie

School: West Branch

Class: 2021

Position: Defensive end

Size: 6-5, 245

College: Undecided

Why he made the Iowa Eight: While he hasn't had as much production, Bowie turned heads on the offseason camp circuit, and he's practically a weight-room legend in Iowa. He's primed for a major breakout. That's all led to offers from Iowa State, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Vanderbilt and Virginia Tech. Oregon, Washington and Notre Dame are among those watching, too. A big junior season could lead to even bigger interest.

Just missed

Aaron Graves, Southeast Valley, 2022 — A rising sophomore already committed to Iowa, Graves piled up 15 solo tackles for loss and 11 solo sacks as a freshman. He's got the pieces to be pretty dang special. Likely a multiple Iowa Eight member later in his career. 

Brady Petersen, Ankeny Centennial, 2020 — An athletic offensive lineman with great feet, Petersen's recruitment surged after his junior season. He committed to Iowa State over a handful of FCS and Group of Five programs.

Tyler Miller, Greene County, 2020 — Checking in at 6-9, Miller is a huge offensive tackle with a lot of potential. He committed to the Cyclones back in November over the likes of Purdue, Virginia, Minnesota, Nebraska and UCF.

Griffin Liddle, Bettendorf, 2021 A physical, high-motor defensive tackle who's also a nationally recognized wrestler, Liddle holds offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

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