RECRUITING

Early football commits trending around Big Ten, nation

2012-04-30T02:00:00Z 2012-05-01T12:12:21Z Early football commits trending around Big Ten, nationSteve Batterson The Quad-City Times
April 30, 2012 2:00 am  • 

IOWA CITY — Earlier evaluations. Earlier visits. Earlier commitments.

Iowa is among collegiate football programs experiencing an accelerated recruiting calendar, with high school players making college choices earlier and earlier.

A year ago at this time, Riverdale senior Mitch Keppy was the only high school junior who had made a verbal commitment to be part of the Hawkeyes’ 2012 recruiting class.

Today, seven scholarships for Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class have been filled.

It’s a trend nationally — Big Ten rivals Michigan and Ohio State already have commitments from 17 and 13 players, respectively, for 2013 — and Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz doesn’t see things changing.

“It seems to be the direction we’re heading,” Ferentz said. “I think it is a sign of the times. A couple of years back, it became commonplace for prospects to be out visiting places in June and July. Now, those visits are taking place in March and April.”

Prospective players are using spring breaks from their high schools to tour multiple campuses in a short time. Iowa welcomed a number of recruits on unofficial visits in late March and early April as Midwestern high schools took a break in their academic calendar.

David Kenney, a defensive end from Indianapolis, committed to Iowa after making a campus visit with his family.

“It was good to see how everything works,” Kenney said. “It would be tough to come out in the fall with the season going on and get the same type of experience.”

For the prospects, earlier visits provide an opportunity to not only tour facilities and institutions, but also to take in a spring practice and experience what life is like at the next level.

“We’re not doing anything differently other than hosting more prospects than we used to at this time of year,” Ferentz said.

Ferentz believes some of the push is external, driven by social media and recruiting websites.

“It’s become a real industry. A lot of people are doing it for a business and I think that has heightened awareness,” Ferentz said. “… The face of recruiting has changed so dramatically.”

He believes that may be encouraging prospects to make college decisions earlier.

“There’s no question that players are deciding sooner and you have to be on top of that,” Ferentz said.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Iowa is changing the way it evaluates players.

“We still really encourage our (assistants) to not offer scholarships unless we’re sure,” Ferentz said. “That’s hard. You offer up a tape, you talk to people on the phone, coaches, people in the school, and you think you know, you hope you know. But, it’s not the same as getting to know.”

Ferentz said the shorter recruiting timeframe leads all coaches to offer scholarships to players that they’ve barely met.

“That’s a little bit scary,” Ferentz said. “It’s a little bit like mail-order recruiting. That’s the phrase I use with our staff. If you’ve ever bought anything from a mail order or online, the box gets there, you open it up and it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m not sure,’ but you can return that stuff. This is not quite the same, so it’s a little scary.”

Copyright 2015 The Quad-City Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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2014 Hawkeyes (7-6)

Date Opponent Time/result
8/30/2014 Northern Iowa W 31-23
9/6/2014 Ball State W 17-13
9/13/2014 Iowa State L 20-17
9/20/2014 at Pittsburgh W 24-20
9/27/2014 at Purdue W 24-10
10/11/2014 Indiana W 45-29
10/18/2014 at Maryland L 38-31
11/1/2014 Northwestern W 48-7
11/8/2014 at Minnesota L 51-14
11/15/2014 at Illinois W 30-14
11/22/2014 Wisconsin  L 26-24
11/28/2014 Nebraska L 37-34
1/2/2015 Tennessee L 45-28

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Date Opponent Time/result
9/5/2015 Illinois State TBA
9/12/2015 at Iowa State TBA
9/19/2015 Pittsburgh TBA
9/26/2015 North Texas TBA
10/3/2015 at Wisconsin TBA
10/10/2015 Illinois TBA
10/17/2015 at Northwestern TBA
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11/7/2015 at Indiana TBA
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11/27/2015 at Nebraska TBA

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1957 Rose   Oregon State W 35-19
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1982 Rose   Washington L 28-0
1982 Peach   Tennessee W 28-22
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1984 Freedom   Texas W 55-17
1986 Rose   UCLA L 45-28
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1987 Holiday   Wyoming W 20-19
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1991 Rose   Washington L 46-34
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1993 Alamo   California L 37-3
1995 Sun   Washington W 38-18
1996 Alamo   Texas Tech W 27-0
1997 Sun   Arizona State L 17-7
2001 Alamo   Texas Tech W 19-16
2003 Orange   USC L 38-17
2004 Outback   Florida W 37-17
2005 Capital One LSU W 30-25
2006 Outback   Florida L 31-24
2006 Alamo   Texas L 26-24
2009 Outback   South Carolina W 31-10
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2014 Outback   LSU L 21-14
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