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Hawkeyes land four-star Florida back

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The Hawkeye logo at midfield at Kinnick Stadium

A Florida high school running back ranked among the nation’s elite at his position plans to join the University of Iowa football program.

Kendrick Raphael, a 5-foot-10, 190-pound back from Naples, Fla., announced on social media following a weekend visit to Iowa City that he has selected the Hawkeyes over nearly two dozen other scholarship offers.

"I am very grateful for all the schools that have recruited me to be a part of their programs," Raphael wrote in making his announcement Monday night.

"I want to thank my coaches, friends, teammates, family and especially my mom for making me the person I am today. The endless support from y’all means more than you ever know. With that said, I am 100% committed to the University of Iowa."

Rated by Rivals as the 15th-best running back prospect in the nation and top-50 player in the state of Florida, Raphael is regarded as a four-star prospect on a five-star scale.

He rushed for 1,374 yards and 18 touchdowns on 126 carries last fall for a team at Naples High School that finished the regular season undefeated before its 10-1 season ended with a loss to Miami Northwestern in a Class 6A regional championship game.

Raphael was named by as a Class 6A first-team all-state selection.

His abilities put him in a position to select Iowa over a collection of 23 offers that included Boston College, BYU, Duke, Iowa State, Louisville, Minnesota, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Vanderbilt and West Virginia.

The Hawkeyes initially offered Raphael a scholarship following his junior season at Naples.

Raphael is the second four-star running back from Florida to commit to Iowa in the past two recruiting cycles.

He follows Jaziun Patterson of Pompano Beach, Fla., to the Iowa program. Patterson is a member of a Hawkeyes’ 2022 freshman class that arrived on campus within the past week.

Running backs coach Ladell Betts, a former Hawkeye who coached at the prep level in south Florida before joining the Iowa staff a year ago, was the primary recruiter for both.

In addition to his ranking by Rivals, Raphael is ranked by 247Sports as a three-star prospect and the 22nd-best running back nationally in the current recruiting cycle.

He is the first running back and third offensive skill player to commit to Iowa as part of a 2023 recruiting class which has 11 known verbal commitments.

Quarterback Marco Lainez of The Hun School in Princeton, N.J., and receiver Alex Mota of Marion, Iowa, previously committed to be part of a recruiting class that can sign binding letters of intent in December.


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