One in a series of looks at the Iowa football program’s 2014 recruiting class, position by position:
C.J. Hilliard, RB, 5-10, 185, Cincinnati (St. Xavier HS)
Jay Scheel, WR, 6-1, 180, Mount Auburn, Iowa (Union HS)
Markel Smith, RB, 5-11, 210, Kirkwood, Mo. (St. John Vianney HS)
Tyler Wiegers, QB, 6-4, 215, Lake Orion, Mich. (Detroit Country Day)
C.J. HILLIARD: Earned first-team all-conference honors as a junior and senior for St. Xavier, where he earned letters as a running back and defensive back the past four years on state playoff-qualifying teams. … Rushed for 350 yards and four touchdowns in six games as a senior in addition to recording 40 tackles …. Compiled 1,650 rushing yards over the past four seasons for his Cincinnati high school, including 650 receiving yards during a junior season which also saw him record 200 receiving yards. … Is also a letterwinner in baseball and track at St. Xavier. … Was a team captain as a senior on a teach coached by Steve Specht.
JAY SCHEEL: One of two four-star recruits in Iowa’s 2014 class, he has played quarterback at LaPorte City Union the past three years but will transition to receiver as his college career begins. … Was a first-team all-state selection as a junior and a second-team pick as a prep senior. … As a senior, Scheel completed 106-of-193 passes for 1,650 yards and 18 touchdowns in addition to rushing 122 times for 493 yards and seven scores. … He threw for 4,577 yards over the past three seasons at Union, where he also rushed for 2,332 yards including 1,291 yards as a junior. … A multi-talented athlete, Scheel also lettered in basketball and track. He earned all-state honors in basketball and placed eighth in the long jump at the state track meet as a freshman. … A three-team all-academic team pick, Scheel was coached in high school by Joe Hadachek.
MARKEL SMITH: Is the second-leading rusher at the high school level in the history of the sport in the state of Missouri, gaining 7,144 yards as a four-year letter winner at St. John Vianney High School in St. Louis. … He set a Missouri state single-game rushing record with a 541-yard performance in 42 carries in a 48-41 win over Washington (Mo.) … Smith earned first team all-state, all-metro, all-district and all-conference honors as both a junior and senior and was a first-team all-conference selection as a sophomore. … He gained 2,416 yards and scored 33 touchdowns as a senior, catching nine passes for 188 yards. … Initially a Missouri commit, Smith ran for a state-record 2,520 yards as a junior. … He was coached by Paul Day.
TYLER WIEGERS: Regarded as a four-star recruit on a five-star scale, is a pro-style quarterback who earned all-state and all-Oakland County honors as a junior and senior at Detroit Country Day. … A three-year letterwinner at quarterback, Wiegers led his team to the playoffs in each of those seasons including a berth in the state championship game as a junior. … As a senior, he completed 122-of-192 passes for 2,093 yards and 24 touchdowns. He also rushed for 200 yards. … He completed over 62 percent of his passes during his final two years of high school, including completing 173-of-285 passes for 2,465 yards and 22 scores as a junior. … An academic award winner at his high school, where he was coached by Dan MacLean, Wiegers initially committed to Rutgers before selecting Iowa. … He is also a member of his high school basketball team and competed last week for Team USA at the U19 level at the International Bowl high school all-star game.
Coach Kirk Ferentz on the Hawkeyes’ offensive skill player recruits:
“I think when prospects came to campus and got a chance to interface with our players, there were no guarantees, but I think they could sense that we were going to get back on our feet (last season following a 4-8 year in 2012) and have a positive season. I think we were able to overcome that once the process got going. It may have kept some people away from us initially, that’s entirely possible, but I don’t think it was a big deterrent once they got going.’’
On WR Jay Scheel: “We think he’ll be a really dynamic player for us. Our intention is to play him at receiver, but who knows what we’ll do with him in other ways to get the ball in his hands. If we’re smart coaches, we’ll figure out how to do that.’’
On QB Tyler Weigers: “Tyler’s story is a good one. We liked him an awful lot. Last spring, he committed somewhere else and then opened back up. We saw his senior film. We knew a lot more about him after he committed. We felt good about him prior to that and really felt good about him after his senior season.’’
Starters: QB Jake Rudock, RB Mark Weisman, RB Damon Bullock, FB Adam Cox, SE Tevaun Smith, WR Kevonte Martin-Manley
Back-ups: QB C.J. Beathard, RB Jordan Canzeri, FB Mason Plewa, WR Jacob Hillyer
RB: LeShun Daniels, Jonathan Parker, Akrum Wadley
WR: Andre Harris, Anjeus Jones, Derrick Mitchell, Damond Powell, Derrick Willies
QB: Nic Shimonek