The clock is ticking.
Signing day for Iowa’s 2017 football recruiting class arrives in 12 days and recruits visiting campus over the next two weekends will shape the future of the Hawkeye program.
Coach Kirk Ferentz said earlier this month he expects Iowa to put together a class totaling 20-22 recruits and, with 14 verbal commitments so far, the Hawkeyes still have some work to do as they host recruits for official visits over the next two weekends.
Bettendorf’s Mark Kallenberger and Mount Vernon’s Tristan Wirfs, two offensive linemen who verbally committed to the Hawkeyes months ago, are among five players scheduled to make official visits beginning today.
An ever larger group – currently numbering 14 – is expected to visit campus beginning one week from today.
This weekend’s group also includes Kallenberger’s older brother, Iowa Central defensive lineman Jack Kallenberger, as well two players who were at one point committed to other Big Ten programs.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette, a 6-foot-1 wide receiver from Newark, New Jersey, is a product of the same prep program at Weequahic High School which produced Akrum Wadley. He committed to Rutgers in December, but has since been offered by Iowa and was visited earlier this month by Ferentz.
Tight end Kurt Rafdal of Carmel, Indiana, initially committed to the Indiana program before Kevin Wilson was fired. The 6-7, 237-pound Rafdal has re-opened his recruitment and visited Nebraska last weekend and expects to visit LSU next weekend after his stop in Iowa City.
Mark Kallenberger selected Iowa last March. The 6-6, 250-pound offensive tackle from Bettendorf chose Iowa over offers from Iowa State, Kansas State, Nebraska, Colorado State and Eastern Michigan.
Wirfs, who Rivals.com elevated to a four-star recruit after his performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl earlier this month, committed to Iowa in December 2015. The 6-5, 315-pounder from Mount Vernon and Kallenberger are the only offensive linemen currently committed to Iowa.
Jack Kallenberger is a 6-foot-5, 245-pounder who has the quickness to play at an end position on the Hawkeye defense. He earned all-conference honors last fall at Iowa Center, where he collected six sacks among 52 tackles last season. The junior has been recruited by Iowa as a preferred walk-on.
Next week’s visitors include a pair of running backs currently committed to other programs.
Kyshaun Bryan of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and a South Carolina verbal, and Miami (Ohio) verbal Davion Johnson of West Bloomfield, Michigan, are among recruits scheduled to visit starting on Jan. 27.
Eleven current commitments, DB Djimon Colbert, TE Jacob Coons, WR Max Cooper, DE Levi Duwa, DE A.J. Epenesa, DB Camron Harrell, RB Ivory Kelly-Martin, DE Coy Kirkpatrick, QB Peyton Mansell, WR Brandon Smith and DB Joshua Turner, are also scheduled to visit next weekend.
Iowa coaches have also crisscrossed the country over the past nine days to visit several punters as they search for players who could step in and compete for a starting position next season along with returning sophomore Colten Rastetter, the only punter listed on Iowa’s pre-spring depth chart.