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Recruiting mailbag: Will Iowa's 2021 class actually wind up top 10 in the country?

Matthew Bain
Des Moines Register

Welcome, once again, to the recruiting mailbag.

As always, feel free to send me questions over Twitter or to mbain@dmreg.com. I know I do the call-out for questions on Twitter on Mondays, but I'm happy to take questions any other day of the week, too.

Let's get to this week's answers:

Is (Iowa's recruiting class) top-10 because of a lot of early commitments, and eventually the big boys will pass them up? Or is this building into a legit top-10, top-15 class? — Daniel

Iowa football is getting tons of praise for its work in the 2021 class, and deservedly so. The Hawkeyes have landed 15 pledges thus far (Nebraska three-star receiver Keagan Johnson is the most recent), including eight from a loaded in-state class and three considered four-star prospects by the 247Sports Composite.

As of today, according to the Composite, Iowa has the country's No. 6 recruiting class.

Very, very impressive.

Let's peel back the layers just a bit, though.

Ankeny's Brody Brecht (11) catches a punt on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, during the season opening game between the Ankeny Hawks and the Ankeny Centennial Jaguars.

These national rankings are formed based on the total number of "recruiting points" each school has. Five-star prospects get the most points, then four-star prospects and so on. The more recruits a team has, the more points it gets — and the more highly rated recruits a team has, the more points it gets.

Got it?

Most programs have fewer than 10 recruits right now. So, with 15 kids already committed in 2021, Iowa is ahead of the curve and has amassed a lot of recruiting points — 197.67, to be exact.

Above the Hawkeyes, No. 5 Florida has 202.17 (with 12 recruits; seven four-stars), No. 4 Clemson has 219.37 (with 10 recruits; nine four-stars and one five-star), No. 3 North Carolina has 229.38 (with 14 recruits; 10 four-stars), No. 2 Tennessee has 232.78 (with 18 recruits; four four-stars and two five-stars) and No. 1 Ohio State has 295.41 (with 17 recruits; 11 four-stars and three five-stars).

Behind Iowa, there's a three-school logjam: No. 7 Miami has 190.01 points with 14 recruits (five four-stars), No. 8 USC has 189.76 with 10 recruits (seven four-stars) and No. 9 Minnesota has 187.40 with 14 recruits (four four-stars).

Then, there are plenty of powerhouse schools with fewer recruits that are even further behind Iowa in the rankings. They will likely rise as more of the country's elite (and many times SEC-bound) prospects pick their schools. LSU, for instance, has eight recruits and is ranked No. 11. Notre Dame has nine at No. 10, Texas has eight at No. 13, Georgia has seven at No. 17, Auburn has four at No. 47 and Alabama has just three at No. 55.

Looking at the numbers, it's fair to predict the Hawkeyes probably won't stay in the country's top 10. But, if they continue to land quality 2021 prospects, it is also fair to predict they could remain in the top 15, and at least in the top 20 or 25. Either would be a significant achievement.  

Any more rumors on Jalen Coleman-Lands and Iowa State? — @LoganHayes_30

I don't have a whole lot for you other than I was told this week the Cyclones are still involved with DePaul graduate transfer Jalen Coleman-Lands and that they feel good about how they're positioned with him. (I imagine there are several schools who feel the same way, so take that as you will.)

Originally a four-star prospect in the 2015 class out of Indianapolis, Coleman-Lands committed to Illinois over programs such as Notre Dame and UNLV.

DePaul's Jalen Coleman-Lands (5) takes a jump shot against Seton Hall's Quincy McKnight (0) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Noah K. Murray)

After two seasons, he transferred to DePaul. He had leg surgery during his sit-out year and played in just nine games the following year while recovering. Last season, he averaged 11.1 points in 30.3 minutes per game. Due to his injury issues, the NCAA granted Coleman-Lands a sixth year of eligibility for one final season next year.

A long, 6-foot-4 shooter, Coleman-Lands would fit Steve Prohm's guard-friendly offense, and he would fill an immediate backcourt need next year. He would start from Day 1.

Another name to watch: Arizona State graduate transfer big man Romello White. The 6-8 Georgia native averaged 10.2 points and 8.8 rebounds per game last season. Iowa State is one of the many programs recruiting White, who has become a hot commodity since entering the portal over the weekend. Iowa State recruited him heavily out of high school, but he wound up picking Arizona State after decommitting from Georgia Tech.

There are rumors he could be heading to Vanderbilt because he played his AAU ball with Jerry Stackhouse's team, Stackhouse Elite, which is now Southeast United.

But the Cyclones have ties with that AAU program, too. Incoming freshman point guard Jaden Walker played for Southeast United, and Lindell Wigginton played for the team when it was still Stackhouse Elite.

Forward Romello White, Arizona State

Has the well run dry for Iowa in recruiting the state of Wisconsin? — @JaredMcTaggart

The well is far from dry for Iowa in the state of Wisconsin.

Since 2017, the Hawkeyes have landed 13 recruits from Wisconsin. They're a regular presence in the state, and that's where offensive line coach Tim Polasek has done a lot of his recruiting work since joining the staff in February 2017.

In the 2021 class, Iowa has not yet landed a Wisconsin product and it has only offered two: three-star offensive lineman Marcus Mbow (who's still available) and four-star safety Hunter Wohler (who's committed to Wisconsin).

But I honestly wouldn't read too much into the reduced activity in Wisconsin for the 2021 class. If you look at the best prospects from that state in 2021, most committed to their home-state Badgers very early in the process. In fact, Wisconsin's top five 2021 talents, according to the 247Sports Composite, all committed to Wisconsin by December 2019 and didn't give many other schools a chance to offer.

Looking at the 2022 class, Iowa has already offered six Wisconsin products: four-star receiver Jerry Cross, four-star offensive lineman Joe Brunner, four-star offensive lineman Carson Hinzman, four-star defensive end Isaac Haam, four-star defensive tackle Billy Schrauth and four-star safety Braelon Allen.

Will Iowa State basketball leave scholarships open next year? If so, is there any benefit to that? — @kg4cy

At this point, it's definitely possible the Cyclones carry some 2020 slots into 2021.

Iowa State has three 2020 scholarships available. It's involved with several transfers on the market, including Coleman-Lands and White. New names are still entering the portal every day, and they will for the rest of spring and perhaps into early summer, too.

So, for the Cyclones, there's still plenty of fish in the sea. 

Will a team that just landed its first transfer last week be able to secure three more by the time fall rolls around? We'll have to wait and see.

Does it need to land three more? Not necessarily. Iowa State isn't going to dole out scholarships just to fill roster spots. It wants guys who fit. While they would love to add three experienced transfers to the mix, the Cyclones likely wouldn't mind adding one or two soon, then pocketing a scholarship or two in case any last-minute targets pop up — a high school senior who reopens his recruitment, for instance.

In terms of 2021 recruitment, Iowa State is already identifying top targets in what's shaping up to be a strong class nationally. It has just one senior on its current 2020-21 roster, which means one 2021 scholarship. In an ideal world, the Cyclones would have more than one spot to work in that class. That's why graduate transfers are a desired option: They have their immediate impact in one season, then they come off the books.

So, to answer your question: Yes, there is benefit to having more 2021 scholarships because it's a good class and Iowa State is in tight with some good targets, like Omaha guard Hunter Sallis and Memphis wing Johnathan Lawson.

But that doesn't mean the Cyclones don't want guys right now, either.

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

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