February 6, 2013
Signing Day Awards: Defense
Another recruiting class is in the books and once again the Hawkeyes added some talent on the defensive side of the ball. The late addition of linebacker Reggie Spearman really gives the defense a boost. We talk about the best prospect from this group, the biggest surprise, and a big one that got away after being committed to the Hawkeyes.
BEST PROSPECT: Solomon Warfield - DB- St. Edward HS - With 20 scholarship offers, Warfield is the most sought after recruit landed by the Hawkeyes in 2013. The 6-foot and 175 pound defensive back probably projects to the safety position at the college level and his film shows why. He is not shy about hitting and flies to the football with very good instincts. It wouldn't be a surprise to see Warfield on special teams as a freshman and working his way into the two deeps at some point during the season.
SLEEPER: Brant Gressel - DT - Centerville HS - At 6-foot-2 and 280 pounds, Gressel already has the size coming to Iowa, so he will be ahead of the game in that regard. He has nearly 15 scholarship offers before picking the Hawkeyes in late April. He's a tough and physical player in the middle of the line who gets a good push up the middle and runs well for his size. He's a high motor player and kind of reminds me of Matt Kroul on film.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: Reggie Spearman - LB - Simeon HS - Spearman's recruitment was interesting. He committed to three Big Ten school during the recruiting process and finally settled on the Hawkeyes the night before signing day. While there have been rumors for several weeks that Spearman was leaning toward flipping from Illinois to Iowa, Syracuse made a late push for the three star linebacker to make it interesting. Even when he put on the Iowa hat on Tuesday night, there was still a feeling of surprise and certainly a sense of relief. Iowa needed to get another linebacker in this class and they did just that.
MOST LIKELY TO PLAY EARLY: Malik Rucker - DB - Cooper HS - The Minnesota prep had several schools show interest after committing to the Hawkeyes early on in the process. He stuck with the Hawkeyes and is a very good get for the Iowa program. Rucker is rated by Rivals.com as the #3 prospect in the state in 2013. Why will he play early? Well, it's pretty simple, every year it seems like one or two defensive backs find their way on to special teams and perhaps into nickel and dime packages. Rucker seems ready to do that.
BIGGEST STEAL: Desmond King - DB - Crockett HS - I'll defer to Rivals.com Midwest recruiting expert Josh Helmholdt on this one. He thinks the Hawkeyes picking up King is a huge steal. Sure he might not have the star power of Delano Hill, who switched from Iowa to Michigan, but he could be every bit the prospect. King has the all time record for career interceptions in the state of Michigan. Really solid get for Iowa and prospect that I think will develop into a solid player for the Hawkeyes.
FORGOTTEN MAN: John Kenny - LB - Carmel HS - So often the forgotten recruit is the one that jumps on board early. That's Kenny, who committed to the Hawkeyes in April and never wavered, even when a few Indiana recruits tried to sway him. The 6-foot-2 and 210 pound linebacker is already on campus having graduated early from high school. That will give him a leg up on the rest of the Class of 2013 and there's certainly a good chance we see him on special teams this fall because with three starting linebackers graduating after this season, opportunity will be knocking.
ONE THAT GOT AWAY: David Kenney - DE - Indiana - This one hurt. Kenney was the first prospect to commit to the Hawkeyes and getting him was very significant. He was a four star prospect and more importantly, rush defensive end was a glaring need in recruiting that remains unfilled. Kenney's father was hired by the Indiana Football program in June and he changed his commitment in the fall. Since then, the elder Kenney has moved on to Indiana State as a defensive line coach.
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