Feb. 5, 2014
- 2014 Signing Day Central
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Now that the 18 prospects have officially signed with the University of Iowa football program, UI head coach Kirk Ferentz is excited to see how the next chapter unfolds.
“It’s an opportunity to open a new chapter in their lives, earn a degree at a higher level institution and play football at a higher level,” Ferentz said Wednesday inside the Hayden Fry Football Complex. “As we get past this, the next thing we’ll be looking forward to is how that new chapter unfolds for each and every one of these guys.
“We’re pleased and enthused about what we expect to be 19 players signed. We’re excited about the whole group.”
The Hawkeyes signed players from nine states in their 2014 recruiting class with five hailing from the state of Iowa and six from the East Coast. Iowa signed five defensive backs and 11-of-the-18 signees came on the defensive side of the ball.
Iowa’s five signees from the state of Iowa include offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand and Keegan Render, wide receiver Jay Scheel, defensive end Matt Nelson and linebacker Parker Hesse out of Iowa. Ferentz says Scheel was a “legend” early on in the Iowa football offices.
“There was a game on television and our guys had a game on film,” said Ferentz. “All of a sudden he became a legend in an hour. The guys are in the back and pretty soon everyone is peaking at the tape. So we’ve known about Jay for a while.
“We think he’ll be a dynamic player for us. Our intention is to play him at receiver, but who knows what we’ll do with him in other ways to get the ball in his hands.”
Ferentz says it’s is hard to judge a recruiting class with less than a five-year snapshot. He says he has a better feel after six months, one year and through two year because you “get a good picture about how a guy is going to go and how you can predict things.”
Ferentz says it’s the stories that emerge in year four or five that make coaching enjoyable.
“We’ve had so many stories of players that have blossomed in their fourth, fifth years at times,” he said. “That is probably a little more inherent to our program, but even for those guys that are late bloomers, it gets down to work ethic and the stick-to-it-tive-ness that they’re able to demonstrate.”
After going through two years of coaching staff turnover after 13 years of total stability, Ferentz says the pieces are in place for another extended run.
“Like it or not, I feel like we’ve geared up for the next 13,” he said. “Our players feel that way and that came across to the recruits as well. We’ve got things back in place where we want them. We have a good idea of what we’re doing, who we want to be and how we want to do things. That’s good for our players on campus and good for prospects that are looking at us.”
The program is expected to add a 19th player to the class Thursday.
“We have one prospect that is snowed in at a religious retreat right now,” said Ferentz. “Hopefully no dog sleds intercept him and convince him to go somewhere else, but hopefully tomorrow that will be our 19th signing.”
With the 2014 recruiting season in the rearview mirror, Ferentz said the 2015 class will focus heavily on the offensive line. Let the 2015 recruiting speculation begin.