Posted by: marcmwm | January 27, 2009

Is the final number 19? (MacMillan update)

(Updated with OL Nolan MacMillan, who picked the Hawkeyes over Boston College and Virginia on Thursday morning, giving the Hawkeyes a 19th commitment. Signing day is next Wednesday.)

Kirk Ferentz and his staff might be done with recruiting for the 2009 class.

Stuck on 12 since maybe early November, five recruits committed to the Hawkeyes last weekend. With grayshirt linebacker Jake Reisen coming on scholarship for spring semester, Iowa’s class will probably stand at 18.

With running back/special teamer Paki O’Meara and kicker Daniel Murray likely coming on scholarship this semester, Iowa might be at the 85 scholarship limit, give or take with the possibilities of transfers and academic casualties still out there. The Big Ten allows schools to oversign by three, but, eventually, room has to be made.

There are a few recruits still out there, namely OL Nolan MacMillan, but unless someone transfers, this is probably it for 2009.

Conor Boffeli, OL, West Des Moines Valley, 6-5, 250

— Former Iowa State commit, Boffeli re-evaluated after Gene Chizik bolted for Auburn. He picked Iowa just last weekend. Told Luke Feddersen of that he’ll play OL at Iowa, with guard and center in mind. Quick take: Bruce Nelson? He was arguably the best center during the Ferentz era. He was legit 6-5 and 290-ish.

Josh Brown, DB/WR, St. Petersburg (Fla.) Dixie Hollins High School, 5-11, 205

— Had offers from the Big East, ACC and other Big Ten schools. Brown was a “utility” player for Hollins, seeing time at cornerback, safety, quarterback, and wide receiver. This class is stocked at WR. Brown could stick there or he might be a corner or safety with his size. Quick take: A lot of wideouts in this class, but Brown’s versatility should serve him well. Ever since LSU’s Skyler Green, I think Iowa has wanted that explosive, powerful slot receiver who can manuever in traffic (that’s another way to say “bubble screen”).

Drew Clark, OL, Marion High School, 6-4, 280

— Picked the Hawkeyes over Iowa State and interest from Kansas and Purdue. Carries a 4.15 GPA and is interested in majoring in engineering. Probably projects as a guard or center. His career best in the shot put was 60-2. Clark’s uncle, Craig, was a four-year letterwinner for the Hawkeyes as a tight end from 1984-87. Quick take: Clark is 6-4, so tackle isn’t out of the question. But I’m thinking Seth Olsen, with a few years in the weightroom. 

Jordan Cotton, WR, Mount Pleasant High School, 6-1, 170

— Cotton’s dad, Marshall, lettered at running back for the Hawkeyes (1985-87). Cotton was a breakthrough commitment for this class. He chose the Hawkeyes while the program’s off-field behavior was under heavy scrutiny, picking Iowa over Kansas, Colorado, Wisconsin and Iowa State. As a running back for Mount Pleasant, Cotton rushed for 1,548 yards and 25 TDs. He will play receiver for the Hawkeyes. Quick take: He picked Iowa when it wasn’t cool to pick Iowa. He might need some time to develop, kind of like DJK. It’s taken a couple years, but that’s worked out well.

Scott Covert, DL, Lake Forest (Ill.) High School, 6-2, 240

— Son of Chicago Bears offensive lineman Jimbo Covert, he started attending Iowa football camps in eighth grade. Iowa has made great defensive tackles out of 6-2, 240 types in the last few seasons. Mitch King and Matt Kroul arrived at the UI in that range. They graduated with 95 starts and more than 400 tackles between them. Covert picked the Hawkeyes over an offer from Pitt. Quick take: This could be a Matt Kroul career arc — think center and transition to DT.

 Keenan Davis, WR, Cedar Rapids Washington, 6-3, 200

— Davis picked the Hawkeyes over offers from just about every college in America. He caught one pass for 52 yards in the UnderArmour all-star game in Orlando, Fla., earlier this month. Despite missing three full games and parts of others with a high-ankle sprain, Davis still had 52 catches for 857 yards and six TDs. Iowa’s recruitment of Davis began two years ago, when he was a sophomore. The biggest factor was staying close to home, he said. Quick take: I used to love to drive chatters nuts by suggesting that Davis’ best position might be safety. I was just messin’ with you, Sasquatches. He’s a receiver and I think he plays next season. 

Shane DiBona, LB, Duxbury (Mass.) High School, 6-2, 220

— Could play a lot of positions for the Hawkeyes, ranging from fullback to linebacker to defensive lineman. He rushed for 1,354 yards and 12 TDs this season. He also had 291 receiving yards and three TDs. On defense, he had 12 sacks. He picked the Hawkeyes with interest from Wake Forest, Boston College, Colorado and Connecticut. Quick take: Endless possibilities for someone with such versatile skills and this body type. I’m going to throw DT out there.

Dakota Getz, TE, Macon (Ill.) Meridian High School, 6-4, 210

— Getz played QB for Meridian and was very productive. He threw for 2,214 yards and 22 TDs this season. He also rushed for 1,667 yards and 25 TDs. He’s the third Iowa recruit from a small central Illinois school in the last two years, joining tight end Brad Herman and quarterback John Wienke. Getz picked Iowa over an offer from Western Illinois, which also recruited him as a tight end. (Here’s a Getz story from the Decatur Herald-Review: Quick take: Maybe the next Brandon Myers project? No wait, that’s Allen Reisner. Either way, Iowa seems to have this guy in every class and he seems to come through, in time.

Tyler Harrell, DE, Dublin (Ohio) Scioto High School, 6-4, 225

— Harrell picked the Hawkeyes over Kansas, Cincinnati and a couple MAC offers. He earned second-team Columbus Dispatch all-Metro this season. He finished third on his team with 69 tackles, including five for loss, three sacks, an interception and forced fumble. He played defensive end for Scioto, but could play outside linebacker at Iowa. Quick take: Harrell could be a defensive end in the mold of Christian Ballard.

Marty Hopkins, DL, Chicago St. Rita, 6-2, 234

— He picked the Hawkeyes over Akron and Ball State. In the wake of recent off-field troubles, character was a premium for Iowa’s staff this season. That’s Hopkins. He’s been on the student council for three years, serving as president this year. He was also the defensive captain this year after finishing second on the team in tackles as a junior. He told that playing for Iowa is his dream. Quick take: He played inside linebacker for St. Rita. I think he’s yet another King/Kroul type. Not a huge body, but a huge motor.

Micah Hyde, CB, Fostoria (Ohio) High School, 6-1, 170

— Hyde was an extremely versatile performer at Fostoria. He played quarterback, defensive back, kicker, punter and returned kicks and punts. The first-team all-Ohio quarterback in Division IV, threw for 2,336 yards and 23 touchdowns and rushed for 1,253 in the 2008 regular season. He helped the Redmen win a share of the Northern Ohio League title and claim their first playoff victory since 1996. Hyde was selected to play for the Ohio team in the annual Big 33 all-star game against Pennsylvania on June 20. Hyde has a brother, Marcus, who plays defensive back at Michigan State. Hyde has offers from a host of Mid-American Conference schools, including Ball State, Central Michigan, Miami (Ohio), Toledo, and Bowling Green. Michigan and Michigan State may have come in with late offers. Quick take: Bradley Fletcher? I’m thinking rangy defensive back who could play a corner or grow into a free safety.

Nolan MacMillan, OT, The Hun School (Princeton, N.J.), 6-6, 285

— MacMillan attended high school in his hometown Toronto before spending a year in prep school to boost exposure. It paid off. MacMillan received offers from Louisville, Michigan State, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, Connecticut and Georgia Tech. He picked the Hawkeyes because of the comfort level he built with coach Kirk Ferentz and the rest of the staff and players. He’ll be the first Canadian to play for the Hawkeyes since fullback Trevor Bollers (Edmonton) earned a letter in 1998. Quick take: Pending the proper development, of course, this could be your Hawkeyes offensive line in three or four years: MacMillan, Van Sloten at tackles, Murphy and Clark at guards and Boffeli at center. It never seems to work that neatly, does it?  

Matt Murphy, OL, Clinton High School, 6-6, 245

— Murphy, initially a grayshirt offer, picked the Hawkeyes over offers from Iowa State and Northern Iowa. A three-year starter in basketball and football, Murphy is probably an offensive tackle candidate for the Hawkeyes. But after he committed, Murphy mentioned possibly tight end and maybe even defensive line. Iowa coaches must like with they see with Murphy’s feet and agility. Quick take: OT if he fills out, something along the lines of Kyle Calloway, a 6-7, 320 pounder now. Or maybe a Eric Steinbach, a 6-6 guard with great feet to get to the second level.

Stephane Ngoumou, WR, Rockville (Md.) Wootton High School, 6-4, 200

— As it stands here on Tuesday, Ngoumou is Iowa last commit. His only other offer was Eastern Michigan, but he also had interest from Syracuse and Connecticut. Ngoumou (pronounced goo-moo) has film on the Internet ( that has Iowa fans wondering why he was still out there. According to, Ngoumou improved his ACT and answered questions about maturity. He struggled his freshman year at Wootton and didn’t go out for football as a sophomore. Quick take: He reported a 4.52 in the 40-yard dash. Depending on how refined and tough-minded he is, he could see the field this year. Watch the film. Impressive.

Jake Reisen, LB, Iowa City Regina, 6-2, 210

— Reisen committed to the Hawkeyes last February as a grayshirt. After paying his own way this fall, he came on scholarship for the spring semester and will participate in spring practice. Grayshirt isn’t the traditional way in the door, but his attitude on it was exactly what you’d want. “I just look at it as an extra spring practice,” he said. “I look at it as enrolling early.” Coaches were impressed with Reisen’s speed and tenacity. Quick take: A Mike Klinkenborg/Mike Humpal type? They took a few years, but when they got their turns, they were reliable to spectacular. 

Brad Rogers, RB, Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic, 5-10, 230

— Here’s a video from Rogers’ junior season (buffers a lot), Iowa won Rogers over by telling him he’d get a fair look at running back. With Shonn Greene’s season, 230 pounds for a running back makes a lot of sense. Of course, it remains to be seen if Rogers has Greene’s speed and vision. Injuries limited him this season. As a junior, an ankle injury limited him to six games — 133 carries for 634 yards (4.8 average) and 12 touchdowns. He also played linebacker with 56 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Quick take: If the opportunity is there, I imagine he’d listen to the idea of fullback. From the videos (there’s a long one on ESPN Insider, subscription needed), he doesn’t run with the lean and pad level that Greene did.

Anthony Schiavone, TE, New London (Conn.) High School, 6-6, 230

— Orginally committed to Temple before switching to the Hawkeyes. In his junior and senior seasons, he caught a total of 89 passes for 874 yards and 14 TDs. He also had an offer from Buffalo. New London finished 12-1 and won the Class SS state title this season. Schiavone is currently enrolled at Iowa and will participate in spring practice, which begins March 25. According to, he will room with Jake Reisen, who grayshirted and went on scholarship this semester. Quick take: Scott Chandler? He could migrate to OT, but I’m thinking more of big TE in the Chandler mold.

Brett Van Sloten, OT, Decorah High School, 6-7, 270

— Van Sloten played defensive tackle, tight end and also punted for the Vikings, who finished second to Sioux City Heelan in Class 3A this season. At Iowa, he’ll move to the offensive line with an eye toward a spot as a tackle. Van Sloten’s dad, Doug, played football at Iowa State (1981-85). Iowa State and new coach Paul Rhoads made a late push, but Van Sloten, also a top prep basketball player, said no thanks. Quick take: Offensive tackle, offensive tackle, offensive tackle.

Brandon Wegher, RB/WR, Sioux City Heelan, 5-11, 206

— Wegher’s stats for Heelan this year were straight out of a video game — 3,238 yards, 8.9 yards on 362 carries and a whopping 51 TDs. He led the Crusaders to the Class 3A state title. He has great speed. He also had offers from every school in the region and some outsiders, including Penn State and Auburn. According to his website (, he has run a 4.28-second 40. He benches 345 and squats 485, so he’d be able to handle himself on the field next year. Where? Good question. It’s all on the table for Wegher. Quick take: I’d be crazy to rule anything out. I could see slot receiver, safety and running back. I think Wegher’s first steps at Kinnick Stadium will be as a kick returner.


Brandon Wegher from YouTube:


  1. Who you callin a Sasquatch? This may be the best breakdown of all recruits in one-stop I’ve seen this off-season. Keep up the great blog work!

  2. Marc . . . . i love all the extra stuff you put on your blogs. Thanks! This class may not have all the stars and accolades of lots (OK most) of the other Big Ten schools, but i get the feeling these kids are the types that will do well in school, be around 4-5 years, and won’t embarrass us. If KF can squeeze a little extra out of their abilities, we should be very happy with this class eventually.

  3. Thank you! I’m glad someone got that Sasquatch reference!!! 🙂

    Agree, Dave. I vote for no police blotter stories. I know that’s not realistic, but I believe character was seriously vetted with this group.

    Ferentz uses the word “developmental” a lot when describing his teams. I would say this class falls under that description, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.

    When all is said and done, there will be a lot of OL and DL in this group.

    I think the first players who see the field will be playmakers from Iowa — Davis and Wegher in particular. I didn’t realize Wegher’s numbers in the weightroom. That’s excellent.

  4. Great article, 2 questions: what is the status of James Ferentz? What happened to Fanfest this year?

  5. Scott,

    James Ferentz is in good standing. I’m not sure how long his suspension for the PAULA lasted, but he was in full pads and practicing with the team in Tampa.

    Fan Fest was canceled this year. I believe it was a scheduling snafu, but I’m not 100 percent. I’ll see what I can find out.

    EDIT: Scott, it was a scheduling conflict. Matthew Engelbert, Iowa’s video coordinator and who’s run FanFest the last few years, hopes to bring the highly popular event back in 2010, building off the momentum of a Rose Bowl appearance, of course. (OK, I put that in there for Matt.)

  6. Wow, Wegher is elusive. Iowa should have recruited his fullback as well. Watch the video and see this kid making blocks 5-10 yards down field before he even gets to someone. None-the-less, Wegher is as elusive as I have seen since the days of Timmy Dwight tearing my fathers teams apart.

  7. JP,

    I think Tim Dwight is a good comparison. He might fit right into TD’s slot receiver spot. But, I don’t want to put a label on Wegher. But I have to say, the more I read on him today, the more I want to see him play.

    I’m glad you mentioned fullback, JP. I forgot FB Wade Leppert in my scholarship breakdown. I’ve got to think he’ll get serious consideration for a scholarship after a pretty good redshirt freshman year.

  8. I enjoyed the article you wrote about Nile Knapp. Couldn’t he just walk-on since the scholarships are up or is it more of a question of could they even use him, as you mentioned, with his size?

  9. Scott, Knapp is just a junior.

    Marc, I liked the article, but man, you’re really setting some of those kids up for failure by comparing them to guys like King, Nelson, Steinbach, Chandler, Humpal etc. I know all of those guys were under the radar in high school too, but developing guys like that is still pretty rare.

    Also, gotta disagree with the idea of Brown playing WR. The position is way too crowded right now, and he seems like a solid corner prospect on film. If you’re looking for a super quick and elusive slot receiver, I think that’s Cotton, who already looks like a WR catching the ball to me (I get the impression that he only play RB in high school so they could get him the ball as much as possible). Or maybe Wegher who, good weight room numbers aside, I’m still not sure has the bulk to play RB full-time. They definitely need to find ways to get the ball in space though, because the kid is definitely a playmaker (though I don’t believe that 4.28 40 time for a second).

    My favorite underrated guy in the class is Van Sloten. I live in Decorah, so I got to see him play a couple times this year. Great frame, and he’s a fantastic athlete for a kid that size. He needs to bulk up and work on his technique, but he’s got all the tools.

  10. I guess i read the article a little too fast this morning. Missed the part about being a junior. Oops!

  11. Yeah, Adam, I skewed high with the comparisons. I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable with projecting failure for kids. I tried to throw an insight into what coaches might’ve been thinking, which is obviously a positive career. Perhaps, I just should’ve left those out, but I wanted to put some opinion to it. That’s all.

  12. That’s understandable, I just hope people aren’t expecting too much. I tend to be pretty pessimistic about recruiting in general, I guess. I don’t want to be too disappointed down the road just because a kid couldn’t live up to the unrealistic expectations people had for him when he was 18.

  13. […] He’s the third Iowa recruit from a small central Illinois school in the last two years, joining tight end Brad Herman and quarterback John Wienke. Getz picked Iowa over an offer from Western Illinois, which also recruited him as a tight …$anchor_text[$anchor_choice] […]

  14. Marc, great recap. Will be fun to keep a copy of this to reflect on in coming years.

    With 07 season frustrations in our recent memories, I am very happy to see the reversal of forturnes at the WR spot. I think the presense of Coach Campbell has something to do with this.

    I am very optomistic about the future of this team!

  15. So, looks like the answer to the title question is “no” since Iowa just got a commitment from Nolan MacMillan! He’s a really good tackle prospect, with lots of big offers, so this is a nice get. I wonder if even Iowa saw this coming. No offense to Murphy, but I’m thinking Iowa probably wouldn’t have upgraded him from a grayshirt offer if they knew they were going to have MacMillan on-board.

  16. I would guess that it was a timing issue, Adam. Iowa had to fill that spot, so coaches offered Murphy. That also could be why Murphy has heard from coaches he has OL, DL and TE options. We’ll see there.

    Beauty of the internet, Adam. I can change that headline and pretend it never happened. Kidding, kidding.

    Here’s why I think MacMillan was an important pickup for the Hawkeyes: Ferentz went to his home in Toronto for a visit. That tells me KF saw something he liked.

  17. Marc,

    Did Iowa recruit Wegher’s fullback also? You made it sound like he was a RS at Iowa already? Now, I’m kinda confused.


  18. Wait…Just re-read your post. Iowa recruited Leppert this year and he is an incoming Frosh if I understood you right.

  19. I’ll go back and look at that. Leppert will be a sophomore fullback this spring for the Hawkeyes. With Brett Morse hurt, Leppert saw a lot of playing time last season.

    I imagine he’ll be a candidate to pick up a full scholarship.

    I think two or three more scholarships could open up.

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