Phil Parker’s eye for talent may have led the Iowa football program to another “find’’ late in the recruiting process.
The Hawkeyes gained a verbal commitment Friday night from Kaevon Merriweather of Belleville, Michigan, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound safety who didn’t have a scholarship offer from a power-five program until Iowa offered him one during a campus visit Friday.
“Blessed to receive an offer and be committed to the University of Iowa,’’ Merriweather wrote on Twitter, announcing he had become one of the final pieces of a recruiting class which now numbers 21.
Parker, whose January finds in the Detroit area include landing Desmond King, attended a Belleville practice last fall, but the Iowa defensive coordinator and secondary coach didn’t give coach Jermain Crowell an indication until recently that Merriweather’s work had caught his attention.
“Kaevon was a first-year player in our program, but I think he sees what our coaches have seen as we’ve worked with him,’’ Crowell said. “He’s a tremendous athlete, a very high character kid and once he has a chance to focus only on football, I feel like he can compete at a very high level.’’
Merriweather competed at nearby Romulus High School as a defensive end and outside linebacker as a junior before transferring to Belleville, where he will be the fourth defensive back to sign with a Division I program in this year’s recruiting class.
Purdue, Iowa State and Miami (Ohio) also took a look at Merriweather, Crowell said.
He joined a crowded defensive backfield on his high school team that included Michigan State recruit Davion Williams and two players who signed in December with Western Michigan, Kmare Carey and Patrick Lupro.
“Kaevon was playing AAU basketball in the summer and joined us late at the start of practice. With the other guys we had, I wasn’t sure where he would fit,’’ Crowell said. “Once we saw him work, he earned a role and he fit right in.’’
While Iowa was the first and only Division I offer Merriweather had in football, he did have a choice to make.
After averaging 16 points and six assists on a Romulus team which reached the Michigan state semifinals last year, Western Michigan offered him a basketball scholarship last spring and Ferris State offered him in that sport in the fall.
“With the reputation coach Parker has for developing players, I’m excited for Kaevon because I think he’s the kind of kid who could go there, redshirt and really develop into something special,’’ Crowell said.
Merriweather is the fourth defensive back in a recruiting class that will be finalized Wednesday with the start of the traditional signing period for prep football players.