IOWA CITY — Eric Johnson’s departure from the Iowa football staff is providing coach Kirk Ferentz with a chance to review how Hawkeye recruiting efforts are structured.
Calling it “totally an open canvas,’’ Ferentz plans to take time to study how other programs’ recruiting efforts are staffed and formulate a fit he feels is right for Iowa.
Johnson, who has been Iowa’s recruiting coordinator for the past decade but has overseen many facets of player recruitment throughout his 15 years on the Hawkeyes staff, announced earlier this month that he was leaving intercollegiate athletics to pursue a business opportunity and spend additional time with his family.
In an era when some institutions have built five- or six-member recruiting staffs to oversee many functions Johnson performed at Iowa in addition to assisting as a position coach, Ferentz wants to structure Iowa well for the future.
That will take time, but Ferentz began by dealing with short-term issues as the spring recruiting window opens for college football coaches.
Johnson recruited the St. Louis, Indianapolis and Minneapolis areas and Ferentz said linebackers assistant Jim Reid, who had been recruiting Ohio along with Brian Ferentz, will assume recruiting responsibilities during upcoming weeks in the areas that Johnson covered.
Other assistants will assume territory Reid had recruited and Ferentz said a change in NCAA rules allowing nine coaches to recruit off-campus — two more than in the past — already was adjusting the way Iowa coaches planned to recruit.
“Really, the smart thing to do right now is to make sure everything is covered, make some adjustments and take some time to think about this,’’ Ferentz said. “I want to talk to everybody on the staff and get some ideas. If it means re-tweaking or reshaping, it will give us a chance to discuss those things and not rush into it.’’
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It is likely Ferentz will designate one individual as a recruiting coordinator, but he said there could be changes in what that job entails.
“We can tailor the job description or they can learn whatever they have to learn on the run,’’ Ferentz said. “To me, it’s all about getting people that are really going to fit in well. If you look at the guys who have joined us the last two years, it’s kind of a mixed bag, a wide range of prospects if you will, but they have all really fit in well and been great with our players. That’s the ultimate consideration.’’
Johnson’s role included keeping track of eligibility and working to shape Iowa’s recruiting classes, making certain there was a balance between positions over time.
“That was something we’ve all worked together on and really, in everything we do we share as a staff and meet on it and discuss it,’’ Ferentz said. “That won’t change.’’