Before completing its 2013 football recruiting class, the Iowa football program has gotten a jumpstart on 2014.
Ross Pierschbacher, a 6-foot-5, 270-pound offensive lineman from Cedar Falls, Iowa, who is regarded among the top line prospects in the current junior class, made a verbal commitment on Saturday to sign with the Hawkeyes.
Pierschbacher announced his decision on Twitter, selecting Iowa over Notre Dame one day after a visit from Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz and assistant Reese Morgan.
In making his decision public, Pierschbacher wrote that he had just gotten off the phone with coach Ferentz, adding, “I have taken a big step forward in my life by committing to the University of Iowa. #GoHawks!”
In addition to the Hawkeyes and Fighting Irish, Pierschbacher received scholarship offers from Boise State, Iowa State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. He was also being recruited by Alabama, Oregon and Stanford.
Both Rivals.com and Scout.com rank Pierschbacher as a four-star recruit on a five-star scale. Scout.com ranks him as the fourth-best offensive guard in the 2014 recruiting class.
Pierschbacher cited two reasons in choosing Iowa.
He likes the Hawkeyes’ history of developing offensive linemen, and following reports of Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly meeting with the Philadelphia Eagles to discuss their coaching vacancy, he likes the commitment Ferentz has shown to the Iowa program as he prepares for his 15th season as head coach.
“I’ve been a Hawkeye fan all my life, and I’ve grown up watching Iowa develop linemen. It’s the centerpiece of their program,” Pierschbacher said. “Coach Ferentz is committed to the program, and I’m looking forward to helping make the team better. Iowa has a great record of taking good offensive linemen and making them great offensive linemen.”
He pointed to recent first-round NFL draft picks Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff as examples, saying he hopes to follow a similar path.
Coaches have told Pierschbacher to expect to begin his collegiate career as a guard, but that he can expect to move to left tackle as he progresses.
“I’m good with that. I have a lot of trust in the coaches at Iowa and coach Ferentz, coach Morgan have been very open and honest with me, and that’s why I feel good about making this decision now,” he said. “I know where I want go, and I think in the back of my mind I always knew that Iowa would be that place.”
Pierschbacher is the first player to commit to Iowa in its 2014 recruiting class. It will be 13 months before he can sign a binding letter of intent.
The Hawkeyes’ 2013 class, which will sign letters of intent Feb. 6, currently numbers 16 players with a handful of scholarships still available. Iowa’s 2013 recruiting class already includes another player from an 11-2 Cedar Falls team which reached the semifinals of the Iowa Class 4A playoffs last fall, tight end Ike Boetteger.