Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. (John Schultz / Quad-City Times)

John Schultz

IOWA CITY - As the Iowa football coaching staff put the final pieces of the Hawkeyes' 2012 recruiting class together, there were questions to be answered.

Who will be Iowa's new defensive coordinator?

Why have running backs left the Hawkeyes?

Will freshmen factor into things in the Iowa backfield next fall?

What significant needs were met?

Coach Kirk Ferentz said Wednesday he believes many of those questions were answered satisfactorily, either when asked by players among the 24 recruits Iowa signed to letters of intent or by the players themselves who signed with the Hawkeyes.

"Recruits do ask a lot of questions, and we do our best to answer what they want to know," Ferentz said.

The 14th-year Iowa coach said a handful of defensive recruits asked about who would be replacing retiring Norm Parker as the program's defensive coordinator, a position Ferentz hopes to have filled within the next week.

"It's a question that has come up in the past week. I've told people that we've been here for 13 years, that we've had good stability and that I know that we will always have good people, good coaches here," Ferentz said. "It was that way when coach (Hayden) Fry was here, it is that way now."

One of the last recruits to ask Ferentz about the situation was Sean Draper, a defensive back from Cleveland Glenville who committed to Iowa on Tuesday and signed on Wednesday.

"The question is understandable and the couple of players who have asked about it, we signed them both," Ferentz said. "There are people out there cluttering the minds of recruits when signing day nears, but it's a fair question that was easy to answer."

The departures of running backs Marcus Coker and Mika'il McCall from the program last month resulted in questions about why the retention of running backs has been difficult for Iowa in recent seasons.

Iowa coaches provided as much information as they could, Ferentz said.

"We told them that recruits, that players at times make decisions that lead to consequences and when things happen, they have to be dealt with," Ferentz said.

The exit of two backs who combined for 292 carries last fall also created opportunities.

Ferentz said coaches initially discussed signing three running backs in this year's class because of concerns about depth.

Eventually, they opted to sign two because of the quality of the two freshmen, Greg Garmon of Erie, Pa., and Barkley Hill of Cedar Falls, Iowa, and the decision of Davenport North's Jason White - who has been placed on scholarship for the spring semester - to return for his senior season.

Garmon rushed for 2,859 yards over three seasons at McDowell High School, while Hill gained more than 6,000 yards in three years at the varsity level for the Tigers.

"Greg is a very talented young man, an explosive running back who has been through a lot of trials and tribulations in his life," Ferentz said. "He is an excellent back and we are equally excited about Barkley. He felt our offensive style was better suited for him and we're pleased it worked out that way."

Because of Iowa's lack of experience at the running back position, Ferentz said both could see the field next fall.

They may not be alone.

"We told every guy on the list that if they can come in here and help us, we're all for it," Ferentz said. "We feel good about this class."

He's not alone.

Recruiting analyst Tom Lemming said the 24-player class, the largest signed by Iowa since it inked 26 players in 2008, resembles many recruiting classes that Ferentz has signed.

"It's a typical Iowa class," Lemming said. "Solid. Athletic. The type they can build with. The coaches there do an excellent job of evaluating talent and then developing that talent. Their record of development speaks for itself and it looks like they've put together another solid group.

"They have never reeled in the number of four- and five-star players that will end up at an Ohio State or Michigan in a given year, but there are other ways to play at a high level through development, and they do as good of a job with that as anybody."

Ferentz believes the Hawkeyes did a solid job of filling needs. Beyond running back, defensive line and wide receiver are two areas where Iowa enters 2012 thin on depth.

The Hawkeyes signed four defensive linemen and three receivers Wednesday, and all will get an early look when fall camp opens.

"We're going to let guys compete, and receiver is one of those spots where if a player comes in ready to go, he's going to get a chance," Ferentz said.

Iowa's recruiting class might not yet be complete.

Alex Kozan, a four-star offensive line recruit from Castle Rock, Colo., has backed off of an earlier verbal commitment and did not sign with any program Wednesday.

He continues to consider offers from Iowa, Auburn and Michigan and without mentioning him by name, Ferentz said the Hawkeyes staff was continuing to wait for one recruit to reach a decision.

"This is hard decision for prospects, the biggest of their lives," Ferentz said.



C.J. Beathard, qb, 6-2, 180 Battle Ground Academy, Franklin, Tenn. Kevin Buford, cb, 5-10, 165, Canton (Mich.) High Sean Draper, cb, 6-0, 165, Glenville High, Cleveland Faith Ekakitie, dl, 6-3, 285, Lake Forest (Ill.) Academy Maurice Fleming, cb, 6-1, 185, Curie High (Chicago) Anthony Gair, db, 6-2, 195, Prestonwood Christian, Plano, Tex. Greg Garmon, rb, 6-2, 200, McDowell High, Erie, Pa. Barkley Hill, rb, 6-0, 190, Cedar Falls (Iowa) High Jaleel Johnson, dt, 6-4, 290, Montini High, Westchester, Ill. Mitch Keppy, ol, 6-5, 287, Riverdale High, Port Byron, Ill. George Krieger-Kittle, ath, 6-4, 210, Norman (Okla.) High Connor Kornbrath, k/p, 6-7, 210, Bridgeport (W.V.) High Ruben Lile, s, 6-3, 200, Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.) Greg Mabin, wr, 6-2, 190, Calvary Christian Academy, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Nate Meier, rb, 6-2, 235 Fremont-Mills (Iowa) High Drew Ott, de, 6-4, 235, Giltner (Neb.) High Reid Sealby, ol, 6-5, 250, Byron (Ill.) High. Eric Simmons, ol, 6-3, 300, Iowa Western Community College Tevaun Smith, wr, 6-2, 186, Chaminade College High, Toronto Cody Sokol, qb, 6-2, 210, Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College Laron Taylor, lb, 6-0, 205, Cass Tech (Detroit, Mich.) Ryan Ward, ol, 6-6, 270, Providence Catholic High, New Lenox, Ill. Cameron Wilson, wr, 6-2, 193, Jerome High, Dublin, Ohio Daumantas Venckus-Cucchiara, de, 6-4, 220 Cypress Bay, Weston, Fla. Sean Draper, CB, 6-0, 165 Cleveland (Ohio) Glenville High