Ben VanSumeren set a state record by catching 85 passes this fall for Garber High School in Essexville, Michigan, but his plans for the future include chasing down opposing ball carriers in college for Iowa.
Recruited as a linebacker, the 6-foot-3, 228-pound athlete announced his verbal commitment to the Hawkeyes on Friday afternoon, becoming the 14th member of Iowa’s 2018 recruiting class.
"A lot of programs have great facilities and everything, but for me it came down to the people, and that’s where Iowa separated itself," VanSumeren said.
"The coaches are real, down-to-earth guys who have been there, and the tradition of development in their program is off the charts. I’m looking forward to working coach (Kirk) Ferentz, coach (Seth) Wallace and coach (Chris) Doyle. They have me in the right spot for my future."
VanSumeren selected the Hawkeyes over scholarship offers from Iowa State, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Missouri, Central Michigan and Western Michigan.
He initially committed to Western Michigan but re-opened his search last February after coach P.J. Fleck left for Minnesota.
VanSumeren’s opportunities expanded after he competed at Nike The Opening regional camp for high school underclassmen last spring in Cleveland, where he emerged as the top-rated tight end prospect.
"I had a good camp that opened a lot of doors for me," VanSumeren said. "I like to compete, and my performance there gave me a chance to do that."
Interest from power-five programs followed, and by the time his senior season started, VanSumeren had 16 Division I scholarship offers to pick between.
He began his senior season as a quarterback but moved back to the receiver spot he played as a junior three weeks into the season.
He accumulated 85 receptions for 1,259 yards and 13 touchdowns this fall, a Michigan state regular-season receptions record. He saw limited playing time on defense but finished the year with 43 tackles including four tackles for a loss.
Rated by 247Sports as a three-star prospect and by Rivals.com as a two-star recruit, VanSumeren is the 14th player to verbally commit to the Hawkeyes’ 2018 recruiting class.