Iowa’s tradition of developing offensive linemen led the Hawkeyes to a significant football recruiting victory Thursday.
Highly-ranked Ohio prep James Daniels, the younger brother of Hawkeye running back LeShun Daniels, selected Iowa over Ohio State after mulling offers from Alabama, Auburn and others.
“The bonus is I’ll get to be part of the same team with my brother. I’m excited about that, but it came down to going somewhere I knew I would be able to get better as a player,’’ Daniels said. “Iowa has a history of great offensive lines and I’m excited to be part of that.’’
Ranked by Scout.com as the fourth-best center in the prep recruiting class of 2015, the 6-foot-2, 282-pound Daniels announced his decision both on Twitter and during a preseason press day at Harding High School in Warren, Ohio.
On Twitter, he wrote, “I have decided to go join the University of Iowa!’’
His decision continues to help Iowa fill a need. Offensive linemen are a priority in Iowa’s 2015 recruiting class and of the 14 players who have made verbal commitments to the Hawkeyes in a class that will likely number in the upper teens, Daniels is the fifth offensive lineman.
Daniels received special mention all-state recognition from the Associated Press last season in Division I, the largest of Ohio’s seven classes.
Ohio State targeted Daniels, whose father LeShun Daniels Sr. started at guard for the Buckeyes from 1994-96, as its top in-state line prospect and was the first Ohio lineman to be offered a scholarship by OSU.
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But, Daniels said he found comfortable surroundings in Iowa City.
“I like the coaches there a lot. They’re good people and they’ve got a good track record,’’ Daniels said. “I feel like I’ve made the best decision for myself.’’
NCAA rules prohibit coach Kirk Ferentz from speaking about specific recruits until they sign binding letters of intent, but at the Big Ten kickoff earlier this week the Iowa coach discussed some of the challenges of recruiting at Iowa.
“Historically, we haven’t won a lot of battles against USC, Ohio State. It’s just the nature of football,’’ Ferentz said. “It’s been that way for a long time. It’ll probably be that way for a long time.’’
His comment Tuesday morning came one day after Iowa lost a running back recruit, Aca’Cedric Ware, to USC.