A lot of football players would be content with receiving the chance to join the Iowa program as a preferred walk-on.
Jack Kallenberger expects more.
“My goal is to earn a scholarship,’’ Kallenberger said. “I’m going there with the idea that I’m going to work hard, become a better player and put myself in a position to earn a scholarship. That’s my objective.’’
Iowa’s willingness to reward deserving walk-ons with scholarships was among the reasons the 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end from Bettendorf chose the chance to compete for the Hawkeyes after earning all-conference honors last fall at Iowa Central Community College.
Kallenberger accepted an invitation to walk on at Iowa during an official visit to Iowa City over the weekend.
The chance to meet with coaches and tour facilities reaffirmed a decision Kallenberger had made in his own mind after the Hawkeyes initially offered him shortly after he attended Iowa’s win over Nebraska in November.
“I explored other options, thought things through, and this is the best situation for me. It’s a chance for me to grow and continue to develop as a player while working with a staff that has a history of helping players reach their potential,’’ Kallenberger said.
He singled out the work of strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle and the experience of defensive line coach Reese Morgan and said his recruiting host for the weekend, defensive end Matt Nelson, spoke highly of both during the visit.
“Coach Doyle is the best in the country at what he does and that was a big thing for me. And, coach Morgan, his football knowledge is second to none,’’ Kallenberger said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better situation.’’
Iowa State, Kansas State, West Virginia and a number of schools from the Football Championship Subdivision also had shown interest in Kallenberger following his sophomore season at Iowa Central, where he counted six sacks among 52 tackles in the 10 games.
Iowa lists three juniors — Parker Hesse, Matt Nelson and Sam Brincks — and sophomore Anthony Nelson on its pre-spring depth chart at its defensive end positions so Kallenberger will arrive prepared to work.
“I know that it is going to take a lot of hard work on my end to get stronger and faster and improve my technique,’’ Kallenberger said. “I can’t get complacent. This is just a starting point for me.’’
Kallenberger, who is completing his associate’s degree work at Scott Community College this semester, will arrive on campus at Iowa in June and plans to work toward a degree in secondary education at Iowa with hopes of becoming a history teacher and coach.
His decision will allow him to become teammates with his brother, Mark. The all-state offensive lineman from Bettendorf will sign a letter of intent to join Iowa’s freshman recruiting class one week from Wednesday.
“I’m excited about that, too, and it will be great for us both to be back in the black and gold again. That feels right,’’ Kallenberger said.
Kallenberger is one of seven preferred walk-ons who have announced intentions to join the Hawkeyes next season, a group which also includes Bettendorf linebacker Keegan Glaus.
West Des Moines Valley’s Cole Hahn, selected by the Iowa Newspaper Association as its Class 4A first-team all-state kicker and rated by ESPN.com as the 25th-best kicker in this year’s senior class nationally, announced his commitment to Iowa on Monday.
The three are joined by linebacker Jake Campos of West Des Moines Valley, wide receiver Nick Easley of Iowa Western Community College, quarterback Tommy Herrion of Wilmette Loyola in Illinois and wide receiver Yale Van Dyne of Bishop Miege in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.