Senior offensive linemen for the Iowa State Football team tell Randy Peterson, if they could pick anyone, who they would go to dinner with. Des Moines Register
In recruiting, sometimes it just takes one offer to open the floodgates.
And, well, the floodgates are open in Davenport for Tyler Maro, a 6-foot-7 offensive lineman out of Davenport Assumption.
After making an initial Power Five splash with a Louisville offer last November, Maro had settled in a groove as a high-end Group of Five/FCS/Ivy League prospect. From January to the start of April, he piled up 15 offers from programs such as Western Michigan, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Illinois State, Harvard and Yale.
Then, Syracuse became his second Power Five offer on April 3.
Two weeks later, Wake Forest offered.
One week later, on April 24, Iowa State offered.
And in a blitz of messages and phone calls since then, Kansas State, UCLA, Oregon, Duke, Nebraska and Illinois have all offered.
"No, I didn’t," Maro told the Register this week when asked if he saw this rush of Power Five offers coming. "I’d just kind of been enjoying what I had, all the opportunities I had. Then, all of a sudden, I’m getting more opportunities."
Maro now has 30 total offers, including 10 from Power Fives.
In addition, Maro said he's receiving interest from Iowa, Stanford, Cal, Minnesota and Indiana. He has taken unofficial visits to Iowa, Iowa State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Louisville, South Dakota State, Notre Dame, Minnesota and Northern Illinois.
Maro's recruiting surge isn't a shock. He had been seen as a prospect on the Power Five fringe for some time now. Since starting on varsity as a sophomore, Maro oozed potential thanks to his height, wingspan and flexibility. He's also a multi-sport athlete who competes in track and field, basketball and baseball.
Potential alone, however, rarely lands a Power Five offer.
Coaches at those programs need to see potential paired with consistent production on the football field. For some kids, film is enough to demonstrate that. For others, coaches need to see them in person.
With the coronavirus delaying any in-person evaluations for the foreseeable future, film is the only current option. And coaches who may have wanted to wait to see Maro — and his rare measuarables — in person no longer have that option.
247Sports Midwest recruiting analyst Allen Trieu thinks Maro is a legitimate Power Five prospect, even if COVID-19 hadn't altered how teams evaluate prospects. 247Sports currently gives Maro three stars and ranks him the No. 82 offensive tackle in 2021.
"Really, all the boxes are checked there," Trieu said. "And it’s just hard to find tackle bodies and tackle frames. So, when you have that 6-7, and you have the length and then you add in all the other qualities, he’s a pretty obvious one.
"You look at him and you look at those workout clips and you read that he’s 256 (pounds) and he really doesn't even look like that. So there’s plenty of room there for him to still grow and there’s plenty of room for him to improve and you’ve also seen that the kid is working all the time. You feel pretty good that the kid is going to reach his ceiling based on his intelligence and his work ethic, too."
Davenport Assumption head coach Wade King said he's been getting lots of calls from area codes he doesn't recognize lately — all coaches looking to learn more about Maro.
King doesn't know exactly what triggered this recent string of Power Five offers, but he's glad coaches are paying attention.
"He’s got a couple things you can’t teach, and the big one is he’s 6-7," King said. "I think a lot of the coaches have been watching film. Six-foot-7 guys that can move don’t stay a secret for long.
"I get asked to describe him a lot from coaches, and I say, 'This guy’s going to sound too good to be true, but it’s not.' He’s real a real throwback, coach-pleaser, that kind of kid."
Maro had planned to take unofficial visits just about every weekend he could this spring and summer. With the coronavirus likely making that impossible, Maro still hopes to wait and see how his recruitment continues to unfold this summer before, hopefully, taking visits in the fall and making a decision by the end of football season.
He said he doesn't currently have a preference to stay in-state or go out-of-state.
"I’m 100% open to everything," Maro said. "I’m considering all the options equally, just trying to do as much research as possible and build relationships with coaches so, when the time comes, I can make an informed decision."
Although it just offered last month, Iowa State has been recruiting Maro since his sophomore year. He camped with the Cyclones last summer and visited Ames twice this fall and once in March for a junior day. His father attended Iowa State.
"That was really special," Maro said of his Cyclones offer.
Meanwhile, his mother's side of the family is full of Hawkeyes. Iowa has also had its eye on Maro for quite some time. He unofficially visited Iowa City three times this fall and got on campus in February 2019 for a junior day.
The Hawkeyes currently have offers out to four offensive linemen and are likely looking to add one more recruit at that position. At this point, Iowa hasn't offered Maro, and he said Iowa coaches have told him they'd like to evaluate him again in person.
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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