Recruiting mailbag: How was Omaha Biliew's visit to Iowa? Has Drake set any visits?
Hi, everyone. Welcome, once again, to the recruiting mailbag.
Remember this name folks: Kai Black.
He's a rising junior wide receiver/tight end out of Urbandale who was arguably the top standout of all position groups at Iowa State's prospect camp Tuesday night.
He wore a No. 3 white jersey. And, at first, I didn't even think No. 3 was Black. No. 3 was just too big, too strong, too skilled to be someone who just wrapped up his sophomore year of high school a week ago.
So I thought.
But, yes, it was Black. He's just that good. His performance earned him his first offer from Iowa State, officially placing him on Class of 2023 big boards throughout the Midwest. He's set to camp at Iowa June 18.
If you want to learn more about Black's performance, and other Iowans who excelled Tuesday, you can read my breakdown on the Cyclones' third prospect camp here.
Now, let's get to this week's questions, which focus on Drake basketball's recruiting visit schedule, the latest on a fast-rising in-state tight end, when Omaha Biliew will announce his prep school destination, how his Iowa visit went and which position 8-player star Eddie Burgess will likely play in college.
When is Omaha Biliew announcing his prep school destination? How was his visit to Iowa?
In case you missed it: Five-star 2023 wing Omaha Biliew is transferring from Waukee to a powerhouse prep program for his final two years of high school.
Montverde Academy, Sunrise Christian, Brewster Academy and Prolific Prep have all been involved with the 6-foot-8, 200-pounder. I'm told the decision has been made, and now we're just waiting for the announcement.
When will that come? His personal coach, Tyler Sass, tells me Friday at the latest. They're just finalizing some paperwork.
Biliew is currently in the midst of a string of June unofficial visits. He was at Nebraska on June 6 and Iowa on June 7. Sass told me both those visits went well. He is very much in the feeling-out stage of his recruitment, just getting to know the schools that are courting him. At Iowa, Biliew watched practice, had a photoshoot and got valuable one-on-one time with the Hawkeyes' staff.
"O has a great relationship built with (Iowa's coaching staff)," Sass told me.
Next, he's got visits to Kansas (June 12) and Iowa State (June 16) on the schedule, and visits to Kentucky and Gonzaga in the works.
Does Drake basketball have any visits on the schedule?
The Bulldogs are planning to host a handful of prospects in June. I don't have exact dates, but a source with direct knowledge of Drake's recruitment told me the following prospects are expected to visit:
Caden Pierce, CG, 2022 (Glen Ellyn, Illinois)
Offers: Penn, Brown, Boston, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Illinois-Chicago
Jeremiah Talton, SG, 2022 (Quincy, Illinois)
Offers: Western Illinois
Recruits Zone reported this visit will happen June 21.
Jayden Dawson, PG, 2022 (Omaha, Nebraska)
Ben Vander Wal, SF, 2022 (Elmhurst, Illinois)
Brock Harding, PG, 2023 (Moline, Illinois)
Offers: Western Illinois
Zach Cleveland, PF, 2022 (Normal, Illinois)
Offers: Western Carolina, Illinois State, SIUE
I'm told the Bulldogs are also working on scheduling visits with New London 2023 point guard Blaise Porter, Indianola 2023 combo guard Drew Kingery and plenty more in-state talents in the 2022 and 2023 classes.
Midwest Hoops Spotlight reported Illinois 2022 point guard Donovan James will unofficially visit Drake on June 23.
Drake is also going to host Council Bluffs Lincoln 2022 combo guard Josh Dix at some point this summer, whether it's in June or July. It's up in the air whether that visit will be official or unofficial. Dix just visited Iowa on June 8, and he's got an official to Purdue set for June 18-19. He also has an official visit to Wake Forest in the works, and a couple potential dates could be June 15-16 or June 22-23.
Rock Island 2022 point guard Amarion Nimmers also recently told Recruits Zone that he plans on unofficially visiting Drake this summer.
Is Brayden Loftin close to a Power Five offer?
If you don't know much about him, Brayden Loftin is a three-star tight end from Lewis Central. The last Division I tight end from that school was some guy named Thomas Fidone, who committed to Nebraska over basically every other college in the country in the 2021 recruiting class.
Loftin is a 6-5, 210-pounder who runs routes like a receiver but is built like a tight end. I shot him up from unranked to No. 17 in Iowa's 2022 class back in December, and he's due for another jump in our next recruiting rankings.
He holds 16 offers from FCS and Group of Five programs, including Northern Iowa, Miami of Ohio, Army, Air Force, Bowling Green, Buffalo, Northern Illinois and, most recently, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina and Liberty.
In terms of Power Five programs, Loftin is receiving interest from Nebraska, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Florida State, Kansas and Indiana.
Those Charlotte, Coastal Carolina and Liberty offers, plus the Indiana, Kansas and Indiana interest, were a result of Loftin's performance Sunday at Florida State's camp.
"Had the performance of a lifetime, if I'm being honest," Loftin told me.
After the camp, Florida State invited Loftin on an unofficial recruiting visit, during which he toured the facilities and got to do a photo shoot wearing Seminoles gear.
Then, after that, coaches started reaching out. Florida State, Indiana, Kansas, Charlotte, Coastal Carolina, South Florida, Troy and Liberty made contact to express interest.
So … is there a Power Five offer on the horizon?
Perhaps. It appears Loftin is right in that fringe territory right now; he's a FCS/Group of Five must-have, and a guy Power Fives are taking a serious look at. Whether an offer comes depends on what those Power Fives believe they need to see first.
Take Iowa State, for instance. The Cyclones invited Loftin to their first prospect camp on June 1, and he put on a heck of a performance. Based on coaches' reactions and the time tight ends coach Taylor Mouser spent with him after camp, there's clearly interest.
Loftin told me the Cyclones have said they want to watch his first four games of his senior season before deciding whether to offer. That's not uncommon. Schools often want to review a prospect's midseason film before making a decision.
It's likely other Power Fives monitoring Loftin feel the same way. Of course, it's also possible for any prospect to land an offer with an eye-opening camp performance.
Next up for Loftin is Kansas State's camp on June 10. Then he'll camp at NIU on June 18 and he has a private workout and unofficial visit at Wyoming on June 23.
Where does Eddie Burgess project in college?
It's looking like Eddie Burgess, Montezuma's 8-player unicorn who straight-up wrecked 8-player football as a quarterback, linebacker and return specialist this past fall, will line up at tight end in college.
Or, at least, that's where Iowa State coaches put Burgess when he competed at the Cyclones' prospect camp last week.
Given his size (6-4, 220 pounds) and athleticism (he rushed for 1,148 yards and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns), Burgess projects logically at a position where that unique blend will be utilized best. That screams tight end or defensive end.
Burgess landed his first Division I offer from South Dakota on May 17. Since then, he's also tacked on Division II offers from Minnesota State and Upper Iowa. He tells me he plans to camp at Iowa later this month.
Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Drake basketball and pretty much anything else under the sports sun for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.