How the class came together

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As the Class of 2014 gets ready to sign their National Letters of Intent this week, we take a look back chronologically at how Iowa's recruiting class came together over the past year as the coaching staff steadily put together a good group of future Hawkeyes.

January 20, 2013

Technically, Ross Pierschbacher was Iowa's first verbal commit in 2014, but he ended up switching to Alabama, which gives the honor to Jay Scheel. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound Scheel committed to the Hawkeyes in person at Iowa's first junior day on January 20. A four-star prospect from La Porte City Union, Scheel chose Iowa over scholarship offers from Iowa State, Nebraska, and Minnesota. While he made his name as a dual-threat quarterback in high school with 1,650 passing yards and 493 rushing yards his senior year, Scheel likely projects at wide receiver in college.
Thanks to everyone for the support! Feels good to be part of the family! #GoHawks- Jay Scheel (@jay_scheel) January 20, 2013
April 3, 2013

In early April, the Hawkeyes landed another in-state commitment from Dubuque Senior offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand. Once the Iowa coaching staff offered the 6-foot-5, 260-pound LeGrand, it seemed like only a matter of time before he would join the recruiting class as his family has had season tickets at Kinnick Stadium since he was ten years old. With the potential to play offensive tackle in college, LeGrand filled a big need for the Hawkeyes this year.
Just commited to play football for the university of Iowa!- Lucas LeGrand (@Lucas_LeGrand25) April 3, 2013
June 3, 2013

Washington D.C. cornerback Omar Truitt kicked off a flurry of recruiting activity in June when he gave his verbal commitment on the 3rd. What made his decision especially interesting at the time was the fact that the 5-foot-11, 184-pound Truitt still had yet to ever visit Iowa City. That trip ended up taking place later on in the summer and despite picking up more offers, including one from Tennessee, the three-star prospect stuck with his commitment to the Hawkeyes.


June 6, 2013

After visiting Iowa's spring game in April, Ohio running back C.J. Hilliard named the Hawkeyes as his favorite and followed that up with a verbal commitment on June 6. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Hilliard chose Iowa over Boston College and Indiana, among others. As a senior, he actually ended up playing more safety than running back for his high school, St. Xavier, so could have the ability to slide over to defense down the road if needed.

Officially committed to the University of Iowa! #Hawkeyes- CJ Hilliard (@mynamecarl) June 6, 2013

June 21, 2013

Like Omar Truitt, New Jersey linebacker Jameer Outsey announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes in June despite not having a chance to visit Iowa City yet. That visit ended up taking place in October and confirmed his decision to play at Iowa. At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Outsey has rushed the passer a lot in high school playing mostly outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense and could project at either linebacker or defensive end down the road.

So in the fall of 2014. I will be attending the University Of Iowa! #GoHawks #Hawkeyes- Kick! (@Flacko_4) June 22, 2013

June 22, 2013

One year after picking up a scholarship offer at Iowa's camp, in-state offensive lineman Keegan Render gave his commitment in person to head coach Kirk Ferentz on June 22. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound Indianola native, who will play offensive guard in college, picked the Hawkeyes over scholarship offers from Iowa State, Northern Illinois, and Illinois State.

Officially going be a Hawkeye!- Keegan Render (@KeeganRender) June 22, 2013

June 27, 2013

The in-state momentum continued for the Hawkeyes in late June as Cedar Rapids Xavier defensive end Matt Nelson picked Iowa over offers from Notre Dame, Stanford, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Arkansas, and Iowa State, among others. At 6-foot-8 and 255 pounds, Nelson has a lot of upside and could play tight end or grow into an offensive tackle, but will start out his college career at Iowa at defensive end.

Proud to be a Hawkeye! #gohawks- Matt Nelson (@m_nelson33) June 27, 2013

July 8, 2013

With starter Mike Meyer graduating, the Hawkeyes were in the market for a kicker this year and found one in Texas native Mick Ellis. The 5-foot-10, 182-pound Ellis committed to the Iowa coaching staff one week after picking up an offer and was another recruit that gave his verbal pledge before actually visiting campus. Since then, he has been to Iowa City a few times now and says it feels like a second home.
Officially a Hawkeye
#D1Athlete- Mick Ellis (@mickellis22) July 8, 2013

July 16, 2013

Another recruit that committed to the Hawkeyes before ever visiting was New Jersey defensive end Terrence Harris, who made the call to the Iowa coaching staff in mid-July. The 6-foot-2, 240-pound Harris projects at defensive end and picked the Hawkeyes over offers from Florida Atlantic, Western Michigan, and UMASS. He finally visited Iowa City in October and said it was even better than he expected.


July 20, 2013

The recruitment of Illinois native Ben Niemann was interesting to follow as he initially committed to Northern Illinois where his father, Jay, is the defensive coordinator, but then Iowa offered in June after seeing him at their camp. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Niemann eventually made the switch to the Hawkeyes and projects at outside linebacker in college.

August 17, 2013

The Iowa coaching staff was the first to offer Kansas City linebacker Aaron Mends, which took place at their camp in June, and that is something that always stuck with him as he eventually arrived at a decision and committed to the Hawkeyes in mid-August. At 6-foot-0 and 204 pounds coming into college, Mends will play middle linebacker at Iowa.

Officially a Iowa Hawkeye!! #GoHawks #CollegeBound- (A)aron (Men)ds (@Aaron_Mends) August 17, 2013

August 22, 2013

One of Iowa's most versatile commits, Texas native Josh Jackson gave his verbal pledge to the Hawkeyes in August right before the start of the season. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Jackson is a state qualifier in track and met with both offensive and defensive coaches on his official visit to Iowa City in January as he has the ability to play either cornerback or wide receiver in college.

Committed To Iowa - Josh Jackson. (@IM_TEXAS_TRILL) August 22, 2013
September 23, 2013

Three-star prospect Marcel Joly gave his verbal commitment to the Hawkeyes during his official visit in September. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Joly had offers closer to home, including one from Maryland, but said he went with Iowa because they were the school that recruited him the hardest from day one. Joly, who moved from Haiti to Washington D.C. when he was ten years old, projects at cornerback in college.


October 6, 2013

With Jalen Embry, Iowa was actually not the first Big Ten program to offer. Wisconsin was, but the Hawkeyes ended up beating out the Badgers for his commitment. The 5-foot-11, 176-pound Detroit native made up his mind during his official visit to Iowa City in October, giving his verbal to head coach Kirk Ferentz before leaving town. Embry could play either cornerback or wide receiver in college, but will likely start out on defense.

Congrats to Jalen Embry on his commitment to Iowa #B1G #Hawkeyes- Coach Terel Patrick (@tpzy) October 6, 2013

November 5, 2013

After initially committing to Missouri, running back Markel Smith reopened his recruiting last spring and started taking another look at things. That eventually led to a commitment to Iowa in November for the 5-foot-10, 210-pound St. Louis native. At Vianney High School, Smith put up huge numbers with 2,416 yards rushing and 33 touchdowns his senior year and a career total of 7,145 yards on the ground.


November 26, 2013

The Iowa coaching staff offered in-state linebacker Parker Hesse in mid-October, but the Waukon native decided to wait until after the season to make his decision. After competing in the state title game, the 6-foot-3, 205-pound Hesse visited Iowa City the following week and gave his commitment to head coach Kirk Ferentz in person. As a senior, the two-star prospect finished with the season with 59 tackles, 10 TFL, and two interceptions. On offense, as a quarterback, he threw for 1,439 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 1,273 yards and had 23 touchdowns on the ground.


December 20, 2013

Originally a Rutgers commit, four-star quarterback Tyler Wiegers reopened his recruiting in November and immediately scheduled an official visit to Iowa. The 6-foot-4, 213-pound Michigan native also visited Penn and took a look at going the Ivy League route, but decided to commit to the Hawkeyes in December. As a senior this past season, Wiegers threw for 2,100 yards and 19 touchdowns for Detroit Country Day High School.
Committed to Iowa University! So excited for the future! Thanks to everyone for the support!- Tyler Wiegers (@TylerWiegers) December 20, 2013

January 9, 2014

The first commit of the New Year was a bit of a surprise as the Hawkeye coaching staff decided to take a junior college punter, Dillon Kidd, who enrolled at Iowa at semester in January. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Kidd originally attended Florida State, then transferred to El Camino Community College and was set to attend Florida International this year, but started looking elsewhere once his position coach left to take another job. Kidd will compete with returning start Connor Kornbrath this spring.


January 26, 2014

Originally, Miles Taylor was actually Georgia Tech's first commit in the Class of 2014 if you go back to last March, but the Iowa coaching staff and his friend Omar Truitt stayed after him and eventually got him to visit the Hawkeyes in January. That quickly led to a commitment from the 6-foot-0, 185-pound Taylor, who projects at strong safety in college.

Committed to the University of Iowa! I'm a Hawkeye! #GoHawkeyes #BackInBlack- Miles Taylor (@milesandmiless) January 26, 2014

January 26, 2014

Waukee offensive lineman Ross Reynolds stayed patient throughout the recruiting process and saw it all pay off in January as the Iowa coaching staff made a late offer. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Reynolds committed to the Hawkeyes during his official visit a couple of days later, although it is still a bit up in the air if he start school in August or grayshirt and join the team next January instead.

Just made it official. I committed to the Hawkeyes to play football next year! #cantwait #HAWKS Ross Reynolds (@BigRossReynolds) January 26, 2014

January 28, 2016

Junior college defensive end Torey Hendrick verbally committed to the Hawkeyes the last week of January, but is going to wait to sign until he can take his official visit on June 3. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound Hendrick had some big offers on his list at one time, including Florida State, West Virginia, NC State, and others, but an issue with his JUCO credits meant that he had to wait until the summer before he could take any official visits. With a big need at defensive end, Iowa stayed with him and took him regardless.


Stay with for more coverage of National Signing Day throughout the week.