It’s fun to project, which is what college football recruiting is all about.
Brandon Wegher is the king of projection for Iowa’s 2009 recruiting class.
The 5-11, 206-pound running back rushed for 6,825 yards and 105 TDs in a stellar career at Sioux City Heelan. On the way to a Class 3A state title last season, Wegher ran for 3,238 yards and 55 TDs. He also caught 50 passes for 837 yards and four TDs. His defensive numbers included 87 tackles, nine interceptions, 18 passes defended and three sacks.
So, yes, Iowa fan, you’re allowed to project like crazy with a kid who has shown the ability to do everything you can do on a football field. Let’s not forget kicker. He hit 5 of 9 field goals, including two from more than 40 yards.
Running back, slot receiver, safety. You’re allowed to project. The reality of the situation is Iowa recruited Wegher as a running back. Iowa coaches only ever talked about running back, Wegher said.
So, running back it is.
“They’ve only ever talked to me about running back,” Wegher said. “They’ve given me the opportunity to play running back and stay in the state. Coach (Kirk Ferentz) has told me to be ready to make an impact.”
Don’t be surprised, though, if Wegher’s first steps on the Kinnick Stadium field are as a kick returner.
During one of his unofficial visits, Wegher watched some special teams video with Lester Erb, the running backs coach who’s also co-special teams coach. The video was Iowa’s kick return team, which only found a little footing last season after freshman running back Jewel Hampton became comfortable in the gig.
“He said they’ve got a spot for me on kick return next year,” Wegher said. “I think if I get to the field next season, it’ll probably be returning kicks. It was cool to hear that from a coach.”
Wegher has a body that might be ready for the rigors of major-college football.
He’s been seriously involved in strength and conditioning for at least six years. On a website put together by his dad, Rick, (http://www.wegherfootball.com/) Brandon’s strength numbers are listed. The numbers (a 385-pound bench press and 485 squat) say he could handle himself as an FBS running back next fall.
This was a crazy-good year for skill position players from the state of Iowa. Along with Wegher, there’s wide receivers Keenan Davis (Cedar Rapids Washington) and Jordan Cotton (Mount Pleasant).
“I wasn’t here when Tavian Banks and Tim Dwight came out, but that was an unusual year, both excellent skill players in the same year,” Ferentz said. “This past year, it is as good a year as I can recall since I’ve been here for skilled position players. We’re excited about that and excited about the quality of players and caliber of people they are.
“The heart and soul of our team has always come from this state. It may not be that way in numbers, but if you look at our rosters, it all starts in state.”
When asked about players coming in and playing as true freshmen, Ferentz said:
“On the periphery, we have a chance at receiver, potentially in the defensive backfield and the running back position,” he said. “We have an opportunity for guys to come in and make a mark. Also, special teams. We graduate Andy Brodell, who did a great job as a returner for us, so there’s opportunity there, too.”
Character counted this year, too. Ferentz sees that in the Wegher, Davis, Cotton trio.
“All three guys are tremendous young people,” Ferentz said. “We’re impressed with them as people. They come from great families, supportive families, and they all played on excellent teams and were a big part of the success.”