Recruiting: Ranking Iowa's top 25 football prospects in the 2021 class
Iowa's 2021 class of football talent is a once-in-a-decade group for this state.
Dotted throughout are kids who've been household names for a couple years and continue to live up to the hype. Others are juniors who blossomed into Power 5 prospects with strong seasons or performances at camps and combines.
And others are athletes who are just starting to crack the surface of their potential.
As the state's top prospects travel to various college junior days around the Midwest and country, the Register put together a list of the top 25 2021 prospects in Iowa.
This ranking is based mostly on staff observations and review of prospects' junior year film, but it also takes into consideration input from recruiting contacts.
1. T.J. Bollers
Defensive end, Clear Creek Amana
6-foot-3, 240 pounds
Offers: California, Iowa State, Iowa, Washington, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Florida, Virginia Tech, Arkansas, Army, Kansas State, Michigan State, Minnesota, Vanderbilt, Missouri
A middle-school sensation who has lived up to the hype, Bollers is a freak athlete who can disrupt offenses from any spot on the line, but he'll likely play defensive end.
2. Thomas Fidone
Tight end, Lewis Central
Offers: Nebraska, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Iowa, Iowa State, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Kansas State, LSU, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Wisconsin
Fidone's stock has exploded after a strong junior season and excellent outings on the camp/combine circuit. He's a ready-made offensive weapon for any college offense.
3. Connor Colby
Offensive line, Cedar Rapids Kennedy
An athletic big man, Colby combines textbook fundamentals with a developing frame. He has the physical aggressiveness to be a college standout. He's simply overpowering.
4. Henry Lutovsky
Offensive line, Mount Pleasant
It's hard to believe how flexible and explosive Lutovsky is when you see his size, but your eyes aren't deceiving you. This big man has very light feet.
5. Griffin Liddle
Defensive tackle, Bettendorf
One of the Midwest's top interior defensive linemen, Liddle is also one of the country's top heavyweight wrestlers. His leverage and body control shine on the football field. Went pretty well last Iowa recruit like him, future NFLer Tristan Wirfs.
6. Brody Brecht
Wide receiver, Ankeny
Offers: Iowa State, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas State, Kansas, William and Mary
A tall target with sticky hands and good speed, Brecht can run any type of route — but he's especially potent as a deep threat. As he adds more strength, watch out.
7. Jeff Bowie
Defensive end, West Branch
A bit of a bull-in-a-china-shop lineman, Bowie is a physical specimen who improved technically on the field as a junior. His upside is considerable.
8. Dodge Sauser
Offensive line, Grinnell
Commitment: Iowa State
The son of a football coach, Sauser's fundamentals stand out first. Then, combine those with his frame and athleticism for his size, and you have a lineman with promise at the Power-5 level.
9. Jaden Harrell
Harrell is deceptively quick with size and instincts. He's a sure tackler who doesn't get beat very often. He likely projects as an inside linebacker.
10. Marcus Morgan
Quarterback, Iowa City West
Offers: Iowa State
Morgan didn't have an eye-popping junior season, but his upside is significant. He has a cannon for an arm and could also play Division I baseball. He's quick as a dual-threat, and he could also go D-I in basketball. One of the state's best athletes.
11. Jim Bonifas
Offensive line, Dubuque Senior
Offers: Iowa State, Louisville, South Dakota State, Northern Illinois
Bonifas wasn't as well-known entering this past football season, but he certainly is now. His junior year film was excellent. He's an example of a what a strong year can do.
12. Jayden Williams
Athlete, West Des Moines Valley
Commitment: Kansas State
Williams is a bruising running back. With his size, strength and speed, he could project at a couple different positions.
13. Zach Twedt
A do-it-all guy who will likely play linebacker at Iowa, Twedt was a hyper-productive tackler at Roland-Story who played just about every position on defense.
14. Cooper DeJean
Offers: Iowa, South Dakota State
Arguably Iowa's top high school boys' athlete right now, DeJean put up absurd numbers on offense this fall. Who knows what position he'll play in college, but he has Power 5 talent.
15. Max Llewellyn
Tight end/defensive end, Urbandale
Offers: Iowa State, Miami of Ohio, Illinois State, Western Michigan, Northern Illinois
Another junior with film that pops, Llewellyn shows great effort and motor at defensive end, and that carries over to his work at tight end, where he'll likely play in college.
16. Luke Pinnick
Offensive lineman, West Marshall
Offers: Iowa State, Kansas, Northern Illinois
Pinnick's size is the first thing to stand out. But he also shows good body control and strength, and he keeps his feet moving.
17. Seth Malcom
Offers: Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota, Nebraska
Malcom piled up video game numbers as a running back and linebacker for 8-player Fremont-Mills. His level of competition isn't high, but he's done well at camps to prove he's a legitimate Power 5 talent.
18. Tyler Maro
Offensive lineman, Davenport Assumption
Offers: Louisville, Northern Iowa, South Dakota State, Northern Illinois
Any time you have an offensive lineman with Maro's combination of height and agility, you've got an intriguing prospect. There's certainly upside here.
19. Nasir Washington
Defensive end, West Des Moines Valley
Offers: Miami of Ohio
Washington shows real promise as a physical athlete who's mean and aggressive in his play style. College strength coaches can work with his frame, too.
20. Matthew Mahoney
Wide receiver, West Des Moines Valley
Offers: Northern Illinois, North Dakota
Mahoney is an excellent route-runner who could be plugged into any number of college offenses. He boasts a solid pairing of size and athleticism, too.
21. Joey Petersen
Defensive end, North Scott
Offers: Iowa State
Petersen oozes effort or motor, like his brother, Iowa State rising junior Zach Petersen. He'll only improve as he adds to his frame — which can support plenty more weight.
22. Jordan Ver Meer
Offensive line, West Lyon
College interest: South Dakota State, Iowa, Iowa State
Ver Meer has good body control over his big frame, and he's able to gain leverage against most defensive linemen at the Class 1A level. His junior film is strong.
23. Jamison Bean
Offensive line, Cedar Rapids Kennedy
College interest: South Dakota State, South Dakota, Princeton
Along with Colby, Bean formed a two-headed monster on Kennedy's offensive line, which was arguably the state's best. A big athlete with plenty of potential.
24. Jaxon Rexroth
Athlete, Cedar Rapids Xavier
College interest: South Dakota State
Rexroth is about as well-rounded a high school safety as you'll find in Iowa. He's capable in both pass and run defense, and he's a sure tackler.
25. Carson Pelton
Offensive line, West Delaware
College interest: Midwest FCS programs
Just due to his sheer size, Pelton is a prospect to watch in Iowa. Also a heavyweight wrestler, he shows promise with his effort and agility, as well.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
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