Ankeny three-star receiver Brody Brecht caught five passes for 152 yards and a touchdown in Week 1 vs. Ankeny Centennial. The Des Moines Register
Ankeny receiver Brody Brecht has lived up to the hype.
This preseason, we called him a must-have and compared him to Oliver Martin and Darien Porter, saying he could be the next big-time receiver recruit to come out of Iowa. Then, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound target made the All-Iowa Elite Team with 796 receiving yards on 35 catches, despite often facing blanket coverage.
Now, the three-star prospect whom the Register ranks No. 6 among in-state 2021 products has one of the state's most eye-catching recruitments.
After receiving a slew of Power Five offers and interest, he narrowed his choices down to two schools last week: Iowa and Iowa State.
Hawkeyes vs. Cyclones.
This state will always be interested in a Cy-Hawk recruiting battle. But because Brecht is a receiver, there's an extra layer of intrigue.
Iowa State has done better lately with landing in-state receivers. And, with its spread offense, it has become known as one of the top Midwest landing spots for high-end receivers, especially tall ones like Brecht. Recently, Iowa has not done as well with in-state receivers (at least not coming out of high school), but its offense featured receivers quite a bit more last season. Also, although his dad went to Iowa State and he lives 30 minutes from Ames, Brecht grew up a Hawkeye fan.
Brecht has official visits scheduled for both schools (Iowa State from June 12-14; Iowa from June 19-21) and he hopes to make a decision soon after.
The Register went in-depth with Brecht on Tuesday, going over his relationships with both schools, why he would fit with either, what's most important in his decision, how baseball may affect his decision and more.
What went into his decision to narrow it down to Iowa and Iowa State?
Brecht had unofficial visits to Kansas State and Kansas scheduled March 20 and 21, but those were canceled due to the coronavirus. He had already planned to narrow things down after spring break.
Not taking the Jayhawk and Wildcat visits just helped make that process easier.
"I just wanted to get a load off my shoulders and try to just relax a little bit," Brecht told the Register. "So I sat down with my family and kind of just talked about, where I saw myself and where I wanted to play the most, and decided that would be in-state."
Brecht said he called coaches from Kansas, Kansas State and Nebraska to let them know of his decision before putting anything on social media.
Now, in this bizarre coronavirus recruiting era, coaches from Iowa and Iowa State text Brecht a few times a week and he'll call them once a week. He had unofficial visits to both planned before his June officials, but those are no longer happening.
What appeals to him about Iowa State?
Brecht said his primary Cyclone contact has been receivers coach Nate Scheelhaase, who has emerged as one of the staff's top recruiters since joining two seasons ago.
The biggest pro for Iowa State is its offense and track record of success with receivers, especially ones that fit Brecht's mold.
"I have a really good relationship with Scheelhaase. We’re really close," Brecht said. "And I'm also close with (head coach Matt) Campbell and (offensive coordinator Tom) Manning. I’ve had a lot of one-on-one time with them, going over stuff and how I fit into their offense.
"That's a big standout: They spread the ball and they throw it around. So I like that as a receiver. They take deep shots. Hakeem (Butler) and (Allen) Lazard have been very successful at Iowa State. That’s my body build."
During his Feb. 1 visit to Iowa State, Brecht said Manning put together a video package that showed Brecht's Hudl highlights, followed by Butler running the exact same routes as a Cyclone.
"They said that I'm very similar to (Butler and Lazard), and they think I could fill in their shoes very nicely," Brecht said. "That (highlight video) was really cool to see."
Brecht also said he has a good relationship with Campbell.
"He's a good guy," he said. "Really down-to-earth. He's very encouraging and supportive. And he's obviously done a great job turning the program around up there."
What appeals to him about Iowa?
Brecht said his primary Hawkeye contact has been assistant defensive line coach Jay Niemann, who took the lead on in-state recruiting when he joined the staff last year.
The biggest pro for Iowa? Its culture of winning and track record of sending guys to the NFL, which is Brecht's dream.
"I'm really close with Niemann. We stay in touch a lot. He’s a really good guy," Brecht said. "Me and (receivers coach Kelton) Copeland are close. I talked with (offensive coordinator) Brian Ferentz today; he's a really good guy, too. Obviously they've had success with winning a lot of games and then getting to a big bowl game, and winning those.
"They produce NFL prospect after NFL prospect, and they're really good at developing their players in the weight room. That's also very appealing."
He said Iowa projects him at their X receiver position — where 6-2 Brandon Smith plays right now. Brecht liked seeing Iowa feature its receivers more last season.
"When I was at the Rutgers game," he said, "and when they threw a deep post ball to Ihmir Smith-Marsette, I was like, 'That’s really cool.' I’ve been doing that deep post and I want to keep doing that. It's really cool to see them throw the ball a lot more this year."
Brecht said he has a good relationship with head coach Kirk Ferentz.
"He calls every once in a while, we have a good talk," he said. "He's a really good guy. He's really nice. Great coach. Obviously has a lot of a lot of success up there."
What will be the most important factors in your decision?
"A good education. And both schools have that, so that's good," Brecht said. "But I’m a relationship guy. I have strong relationships on both sides. Obviously, with Iowa State, their offense fits the receiver position. Then, at Iowa, they’ve been throwing it more. They’ve had success doing that. Winning, producing NFL players. It's tough."
Will baseball factor into your decision? If yes, how so?
Brecht is also a Division I-level baseball player for Ankeny, and he wants to play his senior season for the Hawks — if coronavirus concerns cool down by then, of course.
On paper, Brecht knows it would be easier to play summer baseball in Ankeny and still do summer football workouts in Ames, as opposed to trying to do the same in Iowa City.
"If I went to Iowa State, it'd be good because it’s close so I could do my baseball in the summer, but then still go to summer workouts," Brecht said. "And then at Iowa, it’d be a little bit tougher. But, with it being in-state, I could go to some of them. But at Iowa, definitely, I might be behind a few months, missing out on the summer lifting and stuff. But it's doable, wherever I go."
If Brecht does want to try to play football and baseball in college, Iowa presents him with that option. Both Ferentz and Iowa baseball head coach Rick Heller have given Brecht the OK to play both sports in Iowa City.
Iowa State does not have a baseball team.
"With this decision, I'm trying to take baseball out of it and focus on football," Brecht said. "But it is tough. I do like baseball, but I love football and football is my number one. So I'm really just trying to focus on that right now and talk to myself and say, 'Where would I want to play football?'
"It would be tough (to play both). Two very demanding sports, and I'd have to stay on top of my grades, too. I’d be busy. But not many people get to say, 'I played two sports at the D-I level and was successful.'"
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.
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