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Football is a contact sport and that starts with recruiting. You have to be willing to compete and that means getting out and pressing the flesh; more than anything, recruiting is a numbers game. It begins and ends with 25, which is supposedly the most recruits a school can admit each year (SEC schools excluded). You don't need to be a dominant player in any state to recruit it well. You don't need 10 players from Texas; 4-5 each year would more than suffice, and they don't need to be 4/5-stars because the quality of high school football in Texas is better, the depth is better, and the talent is better than any B1G state; it fact, I can make an argument (on paper, at least) that Texas football all by itself is as good as five B1G states combined.
According to Rivals, the five B1G states that currently produce the most recruits--Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania--combined have 229 recruits ranked at least 3 stars. Within those five states, there are 9 BCS schools plus 11 more MAC schools. That's 20 FBS schools and they all recruit Ohio, which has been very good to Iowa. But Urban's not recruiting it very hard, choosing to bypass in-state 3-stars Tressel would have locked up easily for national 4-stars, but Kelly, Hoke and Pelini have all stepped up their presence. Beckman's hitting it hard with 6 commitments. Indiana, Northwestern and MSU recruit Ohio hard and Purdue will again, too--for whatever reason, Hope almost refused to recruit the Midwest but you can be sure Hazell will make Ohio/Indiana/Illinois/Michigan the epicenter of his recruiting base. About the only B1G schools that don't recruit Ohio hard are PSU (only 3 Ohio kids on its roster this year, which is surprising) and Minnesota (only 2). And then it's probably only a matter of time before Rutgers and Maryland starting looking west, just as Nebraska started looking east.
Texas, all by itself, has 212 recruits ranked 3-stars or higher, but only 5 BCS schools and 6 other FCS schools. If Texas, TAMU, TCU, Tech and Baylor each signed 20 kids from Texas every year, that would still leave over 100 uncommitted kids ranked 3 stars or higher who would most likely end up going to school somewhere out of state. Give Oklahoma and Okie State their usual cut plus another 50 to the rest of the Big 12 and you'll still talking about a ton of talent left on the board. In fact, right now, 37 of Texas's 212 are uncommitted; that's one 4-star (Mike Mitchell) and 36 3-stars. Texas also has 188 2-stars, which is twice as many as Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania have combined (96), and 75 of them are uncommitted. Many of those are kids who were overlooked before the start of the season but had great senior years; the problem is that with the recent trend of the big "national brands" filling their classes early, there isn't going to be any room left for most of the late bloomers to play for a Texas or Oklahoma BCS school.
Pre-Hazell, Purdue made offers to 35 kids from Texas, while Iowa, despite having a coach who was the OC and QBC at Texas when the Longhorns won a national championship, has made offers to only 15, and Davis has only personally recruited two of them, both QBs. But the guy's got to have a rolodex most coaches would envy; when Greg Davis calls a HS coach in Texas, you know that coach is going to take his call. But that's not going to be enough. He's got to put shoes on the pavement. He's like a VP of Sales who never leaves the office and only meets customers when they come to him. That's not how you sell.
Again, strictly as an objective and impartial observer, if it's true he rarely hits the road, I think that's a shame. Iowa deserves and can do better than that.
Great post here. You make some outstanding points about how the numbers break down. Keep in mind, though, that the entire SEC is also recruiting Texas, and they're only having more success landing Texas kids now that A&M is in the SEC. So while there will always be some talented players that slip through the cracks, I think there's even more competition there than your post indicates. I definitely see the merit in Iowa trying to land the late-bloomers in Texas, but I don't know if that'll equate to 4-5 prospects per class that will actually sign with Iowa.
While there is definitely a good amount of competition in Ohio, I think Iowa can beat any school other than OSU, Michigan or ND in a recruiting battle in Ohio. Whereas if Iowa gets into a recruiting battle in Texas against Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Arkansas, etc., I don't like Iowa's chances nearly as much. The general perception, knowledge about the program and respect for the program's tradition is much, much higher among recruits and high school coaches in Ohio than it is in Texas.
I don't dispute any of that. Here's my point, in two parts:
1) Ferentz has made a reputation for finding diamonds in the rough, players who've flown below the radar or have found themselves the odd man out in the recruiting derby, e.g., Riley Reiff, Dallas Clark, Ricky Stanzi. And Ohio's contributed to Iowa's success and always will. I think LeShun Daniels has the potential to be a very special player for Iowa--he played at a great program and put up solid numbers against excellent competition; while Brant Gressel comes from as respected a program as there is in Ohio and one that's consistently cranked out D-1 DLs. And Sean Welsh will probably be a first round draft choice. But if OSU came after any of them late, the way Michig@n came after Delano Hill and Indiana went after David Kenney, Iowa's going to be vulnerable to being poached by the home state team.
2) Iowa has plenty of coaches who know Ohio and, to your point, Ohio players do know Iowa. First year on the staff and Brian Ferentz is proving to be one of your best recruiters. Ohio State and Iowa both have coaches who know Texas. Intimately. That's a rare and special gift. OSU's Tom Herman has been busy crisscrossing the Lone State State. It's territory he not only knows but knows well from his days at Iowa State and Rice (and from when he was a GA for Davis at Texas in 1999-2000). And obviously so does Davis. But from what I've read, Iowa doesn't seem to be leveraging him to its full advantage the way Herman's being utilized by OSU. And recruiting from afar is not something Iowa, a program that relies on other states to provide the bulk of its roster, can afford to do.
Could not agree with you more. Sounds like you have been there and done that as far as how to best sell a prospect- regardless of whether it has been in football recruiting or business. The importance of the human element involvement is always there if you really want to make the BIG sale.
More great points here - really enjoying reading your insight!
I completely agree with you that Warfield, Daniels, Welsh and Gressel are all quality gets for the Hawkeyes. If I had to rank Iowa's 2013 class, those four would all probably be in the top-7. You're absolutely right that OSU would be a serious threat to steal any of them if they offered late, but that's one of the regular disadvantages Iowa faces in all parts of the country. The same thing can happen when Iowa lands commits from Nebraska, Texas, Florida or Michigan (in terms of in-state powers offering late and potentially stealing Iowa's commits right before the gun), not to mention what would happen if schools like Oregon, USC, Alabama or Notre Dame were to offer Iowa commits from just about any state. Ohio State has all of the built-in recruiting advantages to get a lot of its first choices, whereas Iowa doesn't.
I've said this before, but I think it'd be a good move for Iowa to double its recruiting efforts in Ohio. Whether that means sending the coordinators on the road, or not being as active on the east coast or in Minnesota and/or Wisconsin, there are multiple ways the Hawkeyes could swing it.
I completely agree with you that, given the recruiting disadvantages the Hawkeyes already face, the last thing Iowa can afford to do is be undermanned on the recruiting trail. I disagree with Ferentz's approach there.
KF's stance on recruiting baffles me at times. To just ignore TX and FLA when some our best players in the past came form there is nuts. Think back to when Iowa started its run, it was started on the back of TX and FLA kids with midwest kids sprinkled. I dont buy into the whole KF "fat cat" deal, but when it comes to recuiting it seems to ring true. I cant imagine any other team not having their DC and OC on the road recruiting. GD recruiting Texas? Yeah so far hes recuiting a QB with a Colgate offer and a WR with no offers. Hats off Greg! Iowa's class this year is turning into a total joke. End up rating in the 60's.
Wasn't Phil Parker Toledo's DB coach prior to coming to Iowa? According to Rivals, he was the primary recruiter for Sean Draper, Kevin Buford, Cameron Wilson, Jake Duzey, Johnny Lowdermilk, Andrew Donnal, Carl Davis, Austin Gray, Anthony Hitchens, B.J. Lowery, Kevonte Martin-Manley, Tyler Harrell, Micah Hyde, Brad Rogers, the infamous Cedric Everson, and Dominique Douglas. What do they all have in common? They were all from Ohio and Michigan. How many recruits have been credited him this year? Zero. Nada. Zippo,
You want to double Iowa's efforts in Ohio? Get Phil Parker back out on the road, too. Let him and Brian Ferentz divide and conquer the Bickeye State.
I'd be completely in favor of that. I think Erik Campbell is the best recruiter on the staff, so another option could be to give him part of Ohio as well along with Brian Ferentz.
I know times are much different, but Hayden was known for recruiting Texas consistently and had many ties. Greg Davis spent over a decade as OC at Texas. One would think Ferentz would have had Davis recruiting Texas hard. With only a 4 win season with a fairly easy schedule, one might infer Ferentz would be going to the places where much of the top talent is.
So I agree completely with those who say maybe Ferentz should consider recruiting more of Texas, Florida, and the west coast.
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