Iowa Football: 7 Things the Hawkeyes Are Hoping for on National Signing Day
As we head towards Feb. 1, otherwise known as National Signing Day, the Hawkeyes have 20 known commits, which leaves room for a few more.
Over the next few days, the remaining uncommitted high schoolers will give their commitments to their schools of choice.
As things stand, we can only hope the Hawkeyes snag a few of those commitments.
Outside of a juco running back, none of them are likely to swing Iowa's fortunes in 2012.
Nevertheless, recruiting is the lifeblood of any football program, and it is the players that commit this year that will be the starting Hawks of 2013-2016.
Frankly, I'd be surprised if more than one of the potential commits on the following seven slides winds up in Iowa City; nevertheless, I'll be plenty happy if all of the current commits make it to campus, and the Hawks do indeed snag one more.
Finally, please don't refer to any of these young men as "studs."
It is not only disturbing, but it is worth making the effort to remember that they are more than pieces of meat.
Hold on to All Current Commits
This is priority No. 1 for any team.
When a team gets a verbal from a player, that locks up one of its valuable scholarships. If the player decides to pull his verbal, the program will have to scramble to fill that spot.
Needless to say, the closer to signing day a player pulls his verbal, the worse situation the team in question is in.
I can't recall any recent Iowa verbal having a change of heart on signing day, or even the days preceding signing day, but one never knows.
Juco Running Back Aaron Harris
Southwestern College's Aaron Harris was recently extended an offer from Iowa.
Obviously, with the recent defections of Marcus Coker and Mika'il McCall, the Hawks have depth problems at running back.
Hopefully, the sophomores and true freshmen will be ready and able to carry the load, but if they can't, getting a commitment from a 6'0", 200-pound junior running back will help a bit.
Last season, Harris missed three games with injuries; however, when healthy, he gained 870 yards and eight touchdowns on 143 carries.
Harris currently holds offers from Cincinnati, Colorado State and Georgia, along with his Iowa offer.
Rutgers Commit Linebacker Quanzell Lambert
Iowa has always had ties to the Garden State, but this has been particularly true since linebacker coach Darrell Wilson, a New Jersey native, joined the staff in 2000.
Among others, erstwhile Hawkeyes Shonn Greene, Albert Young and Mike Daniels were from New Jersey.
There are also two current Hawks that are New Jerseyans—cornerback Greg Castillo and linebacker Quinton Alston.
The Hawks recruited linebacker and New Jersey native Quanzell Lambert until he committed to Rutgers on Jan. 5. Lambert even took an official visit to Iowa City in October.
The RU recruiting class became open season with Rutgers coach Greg Schiano's recent announcement that he would be leaving New Brunswick for the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In effect, if Lambert doesn't like the outlook at RU and has a change of heart, it seems his scholarship to Iowa is still open.
Speaking as a New Jersey native, I can't see why anybody would rather play at High Point Solution Stadium, that mecca of football history and culture, than Kinnick, but maybe Lambert's top priority is to stay close to home.
One certainly can't blame him for that.
Defensive Tackle Aaron Curry
Thus far, the Hawkeyes have a strong class of defensive linemen.
The most notable are fellow 4-star prospects Jaleel Johnson and Faith Ekakitie, but Iowa also has verbals from Nebraska's Drew Ott and Florida's Daumantas Venckus. The latter two appear to be bigger projects than the first two, and, unfortunately, none of them appear to be the quick-fix that Iowa is likely to need on the D-line next season.
Still, with the previous two years' wholesale graduation of almost every notable lineman, the Hawks need some bodies up front.
In effect, Keller, Texas' Aaron Curry could be one more solid prospect in the mix.
Scout lists Curry as 6'3", 270 pounds with a 40-time of 4.85, which is impressive for a big man.
As such, he could fit ably into the three technique defensive tackle with which Iowa has had so much success in the past—think Jon Babineaux, Mitch King and Karl Klug.
Curry is down to Iowa, Missouri and TCU, and will announce his decision in the coming days.
Offensive Lineman Alex Kozan
Colorado's 6'4", 290-pound offensive guard prospect Alex Kozan is down to Iowa, Auburn and Michigan.
He visited all of them in-season—the Iowa visit was in September 2011—and will make a decision within the next few days.
As is typical with offensive linemen, if Kozan does become a Hawkeye, he likely won't make an impact for at least a couple of seasons.
Furthermore, Iowa has recruited well at O-line and has a good number of young, hopefully-improving linemen that will comprise the majority of the two-deep over the next three seasons.
Still, it never hurts to have one more, and besides, as an Iowa fan, one can't help but take pleasure in snagging a recruit from college football's silver spoon programs.
Every Iowa Commit Makes Grades and Makes It to Campus in August
There is nothing the Iowa coaches can do about this but sit back and wait.
However, on more than one occasion over the past few years, Hawkeye commits have failed to make it to campus due to grades.
That was the case last season with Rodney Coe.
Coe was a 4-star athlete who committed to Iowa over such blue-bloods as Florida, Nebraska, Notre Dame and USC.
He was going to come to Iowa as a running back, and see what happened—I felt and still feel he will wind up at defensive end.
Needless to say, right about now, Iowa could desperately use either an experienced running back or a play-making defensive end, but through no fault of anybody in Iowa City, here we are.
Hopefully, there are no such stories this year.
As a side note, as of early January 2012, Coe was attending Iowa Western Community College, and was still, according to Marc Morehouse, "focused on attending the University of Iowa."
Michigan Commit Tom Strobel
Michigan commit, Scout's No. 12 defensive end in the country and Mentor, Ohio native, Tom Strobel gets a visit from Mentor, Ohio's favorite son, current Kansas City Chief and former Hawkeye quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
Stanzi informs Strobel that it would be no less than un-American for him to head to Ann Arbor, and that some might go so far as to accuse him of treason if he does don the maize and blue.
Rather, he should immediately call UM coach Brady Hoke, and let him know that while he respects his program, he is an American patriot and thus, must be a Hawkeye.
Needless to say, I don't expect this to happen, but Iowa will likely be desperate for a play-making defensive end next season. I don't know if Strobel is it, but unless some current Hawkeyes make huge strides this offseason, this will be a problem area for the Hawks throughout 2012.
And unfortunately, I don't see any miracle-working defensive ends in Iowa's current recruiting class.
Check out where the Top 100 recruits are headed. Follow National Signing Day action all day on Bleacher Report.