IOWA CITY – One month before the Iowa football team begins fall camp, Hawkeye coaches continue to keep one eye on the future.
Iowa currently has nine verbal commitments for its 2014 recruiting class, a group that includes six players who committed during the month of June and five of the six in-state players targeted for early offers by Hawkeye coaches.
NCAA rules prohibit coach Kirk Ferentz from discussing specifics about individual recruits until they sign binding letters of intent in February, but the 15th-year Hawkeye coach is comfortable with the start Iowa has on its next recruiting class.
“From what we’re hearing from recruits and what we’re sensing, things are going well. It’s a long time until February, but we had a good group in for camp (in June) and the interest has been good,’’ Ferentz said.
Ferentz said Iowa coaches typically review the recruiting landscape around the time the regular season starts.
“We’ll gauge where we are then, prioritize things at that point. I’m sure there will be some players emerge this fall that we will want to take a look at, too. That’s fairly typical,’’ Ferentz said.
As Iowa works to turn around a 4-8 record, the Hawkeyes have one of their smaller senior classes in recent years. Only 15 Hawkeyes will complete their eligibility during the upcoming season.
Ferentz never has signed a recruiting class at Iowa with fewer than 20 players, including a year ago when Iowa had 16 seniors but found itself with scholarships available by February to sign 21 players.
By the time 2014 recruits sign, Ferentz suspects the Hawkeye class will be similar in size to previous recruiting classes.
With three senior starters at linebacker and just three linebackers in Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class, that position remains among the Hawkeyes' needs. Only one of Iowa’s verbal commitments, Jameer Outsey of Somerset, N.J., is listed as a linebacker.
Three of the nine players to commit at this point are offensive linemen and all are among the Hawkeyes’ in-state prospects.
Ferentz said earlier commitments by players continues to be a trend, but he said Iowa coaches are working to develop bonds that he hopes will lead to players honoring those commitments in February.
“You see guys taking the first offer they get, and then moving on when they feel like something better comes along,'' he said. "We want the guys who want to be at Iowa. If we’re committing to offering a player, we want their commitment to be equally strong.’’