John Waggoner had his pick of college football programs.
Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, LSU, UCLA, Florida, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota and Arkansas all offered scholarships to the defensive end from West Des Moines Dowling.
But, the top-rated prep recruit in Iowa in the class of 2018 has decided to keep his game close to home.
Waggoner made a verbal commitment Tuesday to continue his career at Iowa.
The 6-foot-5, 245-pound consensus four-star recruit ultimately selected the Hawkeyes following a visit with Hawkeye defensive line coach Reese Morgan on Tuesday, unveiling afterward on Twitter that he had become the 15th member of Iowa’s 2018 recruiting class.
“Excited to announce my commitment to Iowa!’’ Waggoner wrote. “Can’t thank everyone enough for the support throughout this process. Go Hawks!’’
Morgan’s visit followed one last week by Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and came after Waggoner canceled a scheduled visit by Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck and rejected late overtures by the new coaching staff at Nebraska.
Dowling coach Tom Wilson said Waggoner expressed a comfort level with the coaches at Iowa and the stability of the program.
“He had a lot of really good programs to pick from that all did a good job of recruiting him,’’ Wilson said. “Usually, it comes down to the quote-unquote right fit and I think Iowa plays the type of game that he is built for. He’s going where he felt the most comfortable.’’
Waggoner’s mother graduated from Iowa and Wilson believes he grew up “a bit of an Iowa fan,’’ adding, “that was probably a factor as well but I think he went about it the right way, weighing his options and coming to a conclusion he believes is the right one for him.’’
Waggoner counted five sacks and 12.5 tackles for a loss among the 27 tackles he recorded during his senior season for a Dowling team which won its fifth straight Iowa Class 4A state championship.
Rivals.com ranks Waggoner as the 17th-best defensive end prospect in this year's senior class and 247Sports rates him as the 20th-best defensive end and a top-350 pick overall in the class.
Waggoner's commitment gives Iowa the top three recruits in the state, as ranked by 247Sports. Tyler Linderbaum, a defensive tackle from Solon, and Dillon Doyle, an Iowa City West linebacker, rank second and third.
He is the first defensive end and the eighth defensive player to become part of a recruiting class which will have a chance to sign binding letters of intent on Dec. 20, the first day of the new early-signing period for football.