football Edit

Big decision awaits Brody Brecht

Brody Brecht and family at Kinnick Stadium in 2019.
Brody Brecht and family at Kinnick Stadium in 2019.

After winning a state title in football last fall, Brody Brecht is now focused on trying to do the same in baseball as Ankeny gets their season started. There is also a big decision awaiting him this summer with the Major League Baseball Draft just around the corner in July. We caught up with the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Brecht to discuss his options and much more.

Q: Where are you at right now schedule wise? Are you all done with high school at this point?

BRECHT: I’m done with school and our graduation is on Saturday, so I’ve still got that left, but other than that I’m done with all my classes and everything.

Q: Staying busy with track and then going right into baseball right?

BRECHT: Yeah. We had our first baseball games on Monday against Urbandale and that was a day or two after track got over, so right into the next season.

Q: What was the experience like for you running at State Track, especially with fans there, and how did you think you did?

BRECHT: It was cool to be able to run down there with fans. That was the most fans we’ve probably had since COVID happened. Even when we played football at the UNI-Dome, they didn’t let that many people in, so it was good to have the roar of the crowd back and everything. I thought I ran pretty well. It wasn’t quite the season I expected because I sprained my ankle and was still trying to get back to 100% with that, but I’m not one to make excused because I probably wouldn’t have beat some of those guys even if I was healthy. It was a great experience though.

Q: What all did you run and end up placing?

BRECHT: I ran the open 200, the 4x100, and the 4x200. In the 4x200, we got seventh and then the 4x100 we got 11th.

Q: What was your best 200 meter time for the season?

BRECHT: I think it was 22.7.

Q: Moving right into baseball, how did you do Monday night?

BRECHT: I thought it went well once I got into rhythm. The first inning, I kind of had to shake off the rust a little bit just getting back into pitching in a live game, but then I was feeling good and I think I had seven straight Ks after that.

Q: With baseball, what are you hoping to improve on from last season?

BRECHT: I think the biggest thing is just trying to cut down on the walks. The strikeouts are there, but you can’t do too much if you’re giving up free bases so I just need to cut those down. On Monday, I walked the first two guys because I was little rusty, but then I didn’t walk anyone else the rest of the game. So I just need to cut down on the walks and keep popping the zone because not a lot of kids can hit it, so I can’t be giving up any free bases.

Q: Did you hear back what you were hitting on the radar gun?

BRECHT: I think I hit 96, which isn’t bad for the first time out, but I know I can throw harder than that so once I get back into the groove of things I’ll be good.

Q: Not like it’s the only thing that matters, but what have you hit or what are you shooting for this season?

BRECHT: I hit 98 last year at the state tournament after being around 92 or 93 at the start of the season last year. The goal for me is to hit 100 at some point, but that’s not going to be the only thing on my mind. I’m just trying to take care of business and help my team get the win. Usually when you try to throw as hard as you can, you’re not going to get it because your body is tight, so you’ve just got to stay relaxed and do what you do.

Q: Looking at this summer, what is the plan right now? You will be playing baseball through the state tournament at the end of July and will have the MLB Draft to watch, but then would be moving down to Iowa City in early August if you continue on the football and baseball path for college?

BRECHT: Yeah. The draft is in mid-July so I kind of have to make a decision by then whether I’m going to the draft or going to Iowa. I’ve got to talk to my family and everything and figure out what’s best for me. If I were to go to Iowa, I’d just kind of bypass the draft and tell teams don’t waste your pick on me because I’m not planning on going professional yet. Then I would finish the state tournament in July hopefully if we make it there and then take a few days to pack and head down to Iowa City and move in.

Q: With the draft, that’s a deal where if you want to be 100% in, you would want to tell teams that you will go if it’s the right pick?

BRECHT: Yeah. I mean I can tell them that I’m thinking about it if the right number is there. They can also still pick me even if I tell them I’m leaning towards Iowa and still throw out a crazy number to try to get me, so it’s tough.

Q: What are you hearing right now as far as what round potentially?

BRECHT: Like top five rounds and depending on how I throw this year I could definitely move up. The biggest thing for me is I have a lot of leverage in the draft just because I’m going to play two sports, so for me to give up football, that’s going to bump the price up a bit.

Q: When you go to make that decision, what kind of weighs in your mind as you look ahead?

BRECHT: Kind of just what if it doesn’t work out? If it doesn’t work out, I kind of just gave up all of my football dreams. I don’t want to just throw away everything that I’ve worked for in football my whole life for something that may not work out. Then I kind of thing just missing out on the college experience, getting to know everybody, and playing in Kinnick, those are the biggest things that I don’t want to miss. Then again, it’s a great opportunity that God has presented me with, so I’ve got a decision to make.

Q: Is the draft before your high school season is over?

BRECHT: Yeah, and that’s another thing because if I were to get drafted, I’d have to talk with that team to see if they wanted me to finish the season or not. If they told me they didn’t want me to, I’d have to be out.

Q: Is that something pretty unique to Iowa with a summer baseball season?

BRECHT: Yeah, there are only like two or three states that play baseball in the summer.

Q: Switching gears, take me back to last fall at the UNI-Dome, what was the feeling like for you winning a state title for Ankeny?

BRECHT: It was a dream come true. To this day, it still feels surreal. I just feel super blessed that we were able to take care of business and get the win. We’ve been talking about it since we were ball boys in seventh grade. Also, watching the 2012 team win it when we were just little kids, it’s always been in our minds that we wanted to do the same thing and for that to come true, it’s crazy.

Q: How much fun was it for you bringing Arland Bruce in and watching him and your quarterback Jase Bauer take a step up this season?

BRECHT: It was awesome to watch. Arland helped a lot obviously because he’s a great player. Then watching Jase do the things he did was special. I still think he could go to a lot bigger school, but Central Michigan got one of the biggest steals in 2021 class. I know he’s going to do great things there and break all kinds of records. I think everybody on the team stepped up their game and our class put a lot more recruiters on to Ankeny, so I hope a lot more kids will get opportunities moving forward.

Q: For yourself, where did you think you made the biggest strides this past season?

BRECHT: Honestly, I would say it wasn’t even on the field, but more my leadership. At the beginning of the year, I was kind of the guy getting double teamed and everything and then when Arland got eligible, he was making plays so we kept feeding him the ball. I could have been that guy that tells the coaches I need the ball more, but our team was playing great so I just tried to make a play every chance I got. On the field, my route running and releases were the biggest things I worked on and improved.

Q: When you visited Iowa City during spring practice, what was it like seeing guys like Arland and Keagan Johnson out there practicing and just picturing yourself out there now that it is getting so close?

BRECHT: It was fun to watch, but also kind of tough just knowing they’re a step ahead of me right now. This summer is going to put me even more behind, so it made me kind of rethink if I’m doing the right thing by staying, but we’ve got business to take care of this summer with baseball season. But I’m really excited for them and excited to get out there with them and compete.

Q: Assuming you do go ahead and enroll in college this fall, what are you looking forward to your freshman year at Iowa?

BRECHT: I think just getting to know the Big Ten level and competing every day. In high school, you’re not going up against Division I corners every day so I think the competition is going to be fun and I’m looking forward to it.

Q: What would your schedule look like for a two-sport athlete as far as the fall and spring when they overlap a bit?

BRECHT: When I get there in August up until the bowl game, I’m kind of just strictly doing football. That takes priority and then I’ll be doing baseball when I can, but then after the bowl game I’ll go straight to baseball. From that point, baseball would take more of a priority, but I’ll fit in workouts and spring ball when the coaches tell me. I’m on football scholarship, so if they tell me they need me there on this day, I’ll be there. It will be tough to balance, but I think Coach Ferentz and Coach Heller are kind of on the same page and will work together to find a schedule that works for me. That’s kind of the outline of what I’ve been hearing.

Q: What are you at height and weight wise right now?

BRECHT: I was like 6-5, 210 pounds before track started and then lost a few pounds running track.

Q: Have you heard what number you will be wearing at Iowa?

BRECHT: #14. I don’t know if it’s 100% official, but Coach Tyler Barnes asked me if #14 worked and I said that’s fine.

Q: Coming in at the X wide receiver position, is that spot still pretty open right now with Brandon Smith graduating? Keagan saw some time there in the spring, so it seems like there could be an opportunity for someone to step in there.

BRECHT: Yeah, I think so. You’ve got Tyrone Tracy and Nico Ragaini at the top right now and then after that there’s a lot of competition. I think Keagan and Arland will both get a chance to play and then I’ll be ready to compete and we’ll see where I’m at.

Q: This summer, how do you fit in workouts for Iowa with your baseball schedule?

BRECHT: I’m still lifting every day. Usually it’s not as much intense lifting because I don’t want to be sore for baseball and want to make sure I can perform at a high level, but this year I’m going to hit the weight room harder and I’m just going to have to recover better. That’s just so I’m not as far behind when I get to Iowa as I would be normally. I’m going to be working out pretty intense so I can try to close the gap Arland and Keagan have just because they’ve been there all semester and will be all summer.

Q: When you look back at your decision over a year ago, what was it about Iowa that made you so comfortable committing early on?

BRECHT: I think it was just the relationship with the coaches. Growing up a fan my whole life, I’ve always gone to Iowa games and I think deep down I always knew I wanted to go to Iowa and that was the school for me. I made sure to weigh out my options, but I think I always knew Iowa was the one. That’s where I wanted to play. I wanted to play in Kinnick and wear the black and gold. Their development of players was also a big factor and they let me play baseball, so it was the right fit.

A three-star prospect, Brody Brecht committed to Iowa on May 1, 2020, choosing the Hawkeyes over scholarship offers from Iowa State, Nebraska, Kansas, and Kansas State.

As a senior, Brecht helped lead Ankeny to a state championship in Class 4A, finishing the season with 42 catches for 599 yards and 12 touchdowns for Ankeny.

See highlights from Brecht's senior year at Ankeny in the video below.