Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier built a relationship with the Iowa coaching staff while he was coach at North Iowa Area Community College. It appears that will continue at Western.
As the Reivers begin their first season of existence this fall, Strohmeier will have two former and maybe future Hawkeyes on his roster — David Blackwell and Shane Prater.
Blackwell, a QB/WR, signed with the Hawkeyes in 2008 out of Cardinal Gibbons High School (Pompano Beach, Fla.). The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder didn’t make the academic cut and ended up at Iowa Western, one of the first commitments Strohmeier received.
Strohmeier cautioned that it’s early in the school year and that the season hadn’t started, but he believes the door is open for Blackwell to return to Iowa City, where he’d be a junior in 2010. Blackwell signed with the Hawkeyes in February 2008. When he signed, he was rehabbing from a torn ACL he suffered early in his senior season at Cardinal Gibbons, where Blackwell excelled as a receiver, catching 63 passes for 1,352 yards and 15 TDs.
“I know they’re (Iowa coaches) still interested in him and following him through,” Strohmeier said Friday. “He had a knee injury and then also, obviously, academics. There are some things they want to follow him through this year. He’s done well.
“He’s working extremely hard and is an unbelievable kid, from a standpoint that he signs a Division I and goes junior college. They can sometimes be, hey, I’m a little bit better than this. He’s been awesome.”
“Right now, he’s playing quarterback for us,” Strohmeier said. “He only played a limited time in high school before he got injured. He was a good receiver, also. He could project as a linebacker, also. He’s physical. He’s 6-2, 6-3 and 205, 210 pounds. He’s a pretty physical kid.”
The most recent Hawkeye to leave because of academics was Shane Prater in late May. It was blogged here and it was reported in the Omaha World-Herald. Prater, whose twin brother Shaun is a CB at Iowa, cited “party life” at Iowa as his down fall. He also said he planned to open up his recruiting. JUCOs are certainly recruitable athletes.
Strohmeier said he doesn’t believe it’s over for Shane Prater at Iowa.
“I think they’re (Iowa) not closing the door but it’s just not wide open, either,” Strohmeier said. “Shane’s got to come in and take care of academics and have a good year to showcase to them what type of student he is. They (Iowa coaches) know he’s a good player. He has to get the other stuff figured out.
“I think he wants to open it up a little bit, the recruiting, but you never know. A lot could change between now and then. Obviously, his brother being there.”
Prater’s best attribute is his speed, Strohmeier said. He plans to experiement on how to use the 6-1, 185-pounder, either at receiver or defensive back.
Prater was also a member of the 24-player 2008 recruiting class. Six (Blackwell, Prater, DeMarco Paine, Jason Semmes, Khalif Staten and Nate Guillory) have left Iowa.
I also talked to Strohmeier about what it’s like to set up a college football program, especially “in this day and age,” which we all know means “this economy.” Strohmeier expects to have 170 players on campus next fall.
I plan to use that after I make a call to Kirkwood and see if football can ever be a possibility there.