Sometimes, it’s not what you know, but who.
Arguably, offensive lineman Nolan MacMillan is one of the jewels of Iowa’s 2009 recruiting class. The 6-6, 285-pound offensive lineman had offers from a lot of biggies, including Rutgers, Michigan State and Georgia Tech. He picked the Hawkeyes over Boston College just before the last weekend of recruiting.
Iowa had a little bit of an in with MacMillan, one that reached back to coach Kirk Ferentz’s days in high school at Upper St. Clair in the Pittsburgh area.
“Nolan’s dad, Paul, went to my high school. He moved to Upper St. Clair my senior year and his junior year,” Ferentz said. “He’s a classmate of my wife’s (Mary), and he explained to me that we had run into each other during camp, and I had forgotten that and he remembered it. I was hoping my wife didn’t make him mad. I think we got through that. It was great to see him again and to meet his wife, Janet.”
Hey, whatever works. In recruiting, whatever works and run with that.
MacMillan’s comfort level with Iowa and Ferentz put the Hawkeyes over the top.
“It starts with coach Ferentz,” MacMillan said. “I had great communication and a great relationship with him from the first time we established contact.”
Defensive assistant Darrell Wilson made contact with MacMillan at The Hun. MacMillan met offensive line coach Reese Morgan and recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson on his official visit. His comfort level only grew from there.
“Iowa made sense,” said MacMillan, who attended The Hun for his senior season to gain exposure in the college football recruiting world. “The whole staff is a reflection of coach Ferentz and that’s something I want to be a part of.”
Iowa recruited five offensive linemen in this class. Ferentz sees MacMillan, who also lettered in swimming at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto, as a tackle.
“Yeah, I think he has that potential,” Ferentz said. “Really, outside of Conor (Boffeli), who’s maybe more of an inside guy, all the other guys have the potential of maybe playing on the outside. I think maybe Drew (Clark) can be a tackle, Nolan for sure, Brett (Van Sloten) and Matt (Murphy) also.”
The debate during Wednesday’s signing day news conference was over the offensive tackle prototype, the 6-7 giant with the continental wing span.
“(Marshal) Yanda was our (Willie) Colon (Pittsburgh Steelers’ right tackle who’s less than 6-3),” Ferentz said. “Seth Olsen too, but he is a little taller and he could play both. If you have guys that can do that it is a good thing. Guys have to be smart to do it, and I think the guys that we have are pretty intelligent.”