Feb. 4, 2011
Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa football team signed a group of 23 student-athletes to National Letters of Intent on Wednesday. The national pundits are calling the Hawkeyes’ class one of the best in the Big Ten Conference.
The Sporting News online ranked Iowa’s class as the second best in the conference. It also rated three of Iowa’s signees in their top-100 in Rodney Coe (60), Austin Blythe (90) and Ray Hamilton (90).
Iowa is ranked as the No. 29 class in the nation and the fourth best class in the Big Ten behind Ohio State (11), Nebraska (15) and Michigan (21) by Rivals.com. The college recruiting website stated the Hawkeyes had a “strong class led by a major move into the state of Maryland”.
The major move that Rivals.com was referring to was Iowa signing defensive lineman Darian Cooper and defensive backs Jordan Lomax and Nico Law all from Maryland. Cooper and Lomax were high school teammates of current Iowa running back Marcus Coker at DeMatha High School, while Law played at nearby Bishop Mcnamara.
CBS/MaxPreps, Chicago Sun Times and Star Tribune all tabbed Iowa’s class as the third best in the Big Ten. The Chicago Sun Times stated that UI head coach Kirk Ferentz went “far and wide for this deep, talented class, targeting Texas, the East Coast and Illinois among others”.
The Hawkeyes signed a pair of running backs, an offensive lineman and a defensive lineman from the “Land of Lincoln”. Running backs Mika’il McCall and Coe will join the Iowa offensive backfield, while Jordan Walsh (offensive line) and Riley McMinn (defensive line) will be battling in the trenches for the Hawkeyes.
ESPN.com gave Iowa’s 2011 recruiting class a B- grade. The grade is tied for the third best among the 12 conference teams.
ESPN.com tabs Walsh as the team’s top prospect, stating that the offensive lineman “will slide inside to guard at Iowa and take advantage of his powerful frame and explosive run blocking skills.”
Florida quarterback Jake Rudock is tabbed as the “Name to Remember”, stating that Rudock, a three-star quarterback, “has some of the better field awareness and accuracy in this quarterback class”.
ESPN.com’s overall breakdown of Iowa’s class is listed below:
Breakdown: Iowa may not have signed a lot of four-star prospects but this is another strong, balanced class for coach Kirk Ferentz. The Hawkeyes built it with tough, blue-collar prospects on the offensive side of the ball, including a pair of top-20 guards highlighted by the explosive Walsh. Punishing running back Rodney Coe (Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville) is physically ready to make the jump to the college level and they needed that depth in this class. We really feel like Rudock, a fundamentally sound quarterback, is a great fit for Iowa because he plays within the offense and makes smart decisions. One of his top targets and another great pro-style fit is No. 12 tight end Ray Hamilton (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville).