Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation articles, a project that aims to bring our readers greater insight into the Class of 2018 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. We talked with 3-star linebacker Dillon Doyle, but before we bring you the full profile on the Iowa City West (Iowa) star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Dillon Doyle’s first memory of Iowa football is one of the most iconic of the Kirk Ferentz Era.
As a 4-year-old, Doyle recalls watching quarterback Drew Tate dropping back, heaving a Hail Mary pass that fell into the hands of wide receiver Warren Holloway for the game-winning 56-yard touchdown pass as time expired in the 2005 Capital One Bowl.
“I’ve heard the call by Gary Dolphin so many times I can probably recite it,” Doyle said.
Doyle, like the other nine players in the program from the Iowa City area, grew up following the local team.
But unlike the others, Doyle saw behind the curtain. What he learned as the youngest son of strength coach Chris Doyle helped ensure the 3-star linebacker became a Hawkeye.
“I don’t think I would be the player that I am without Iowa football because I have learned so much from everyone there,” Doyle said. “They just taught me so much in all areas of life, how to approach everything from football to school. It’s a special relationship I have and I’m glad I have it.”
Before he started taking Iowa football notes, Doyle enjoyed hanging out at practice and meeting the players his dad worked with. There is a Cedar Rapids Gazette photo of former offensive lineman Robert Gallery playing with a 7-year-old Doyle.
He knew them more than just the player who came out onto Kinnick Stadium on Saturdays. He learned who they were and what made them unique.
“They just took me in like I was a little brother to them and that was special to me,” Doyle said. “I have just grown closer to the players ever since then.”
He gravitated towards high-intensity players like linebacker Pat Angerer, tight end Dallas Clark and offensive lineman James Ferentz. He liked Angerer because the linebacker found a way to blend enjoying life with giving the sport the proper respect it needed.
“I just remember him being around the complex as not a goofy guy,” Doyle said, “but he knew how to have fun in the right way and that was pretty cool to me.”
Becoming more serious
The relationships grew as Doyle became older. He picked up early on what the Iowa staff describes as the “Iowa way,” the hard-working, blue-collar mentality of the players leads to long-term success for the individual and the team.
It made an impression and very likely influenced Doyle, who as a 7-year-old stopped drinking soda and eating fast food. Even at a young age, Doyle tried to maximize his talent, and caffeine and quarter pounders weren’t going to do it.
“The best line we have in this house is that’s just Dillon,” his mom, Tia Doyle, said. “That is who he was and he wasn’t trying to be someone else.”
Doyle didn’t start taking position-specific notes until high school. He figured his varsity future was at safety, but the Iowa City West coaches threw a slightly undersized Doyle there as a junior.
Doyle, who signed in December, started watching Josey Jewell, entering his second year as a starter in 2016, to see how he acted and played.
“He was a real good resource to me to look at,” Doyle said.
One of the All-American’s best traits, his football IQ, is arguably Doyle’s biggest strength.
“He is a very intelligent, very mature kid from the sense that he sees the big picture,” Iowa City West football coach Garrett Hartwig told Land of 10 in March. “That is something he has that a lot of high school players don’t have.”
— Hawkeye Football (@HawkeyeFootball) December 20, 2017
Becoming a Hawkeye
Doyle did a pretty good Jewell impression at the high school level. He twice earned first-team all-district honors and had 73 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3 fumble recoveries and 2 sacks as a senior.
He led Iowa City West to the state title game the last two season. The Trojans beat Bettendorf in the state semifinals in 2017. Angerer, a Bettendorf assistant coach, chatted with Doyle after the game.
The best advice he passed on centered on Doyle’s most important football task: Becoming the best Iowa linebacker he can. Doyle will, starting with the spring semester.
Maximizing his potential isn’t new to Doyle. He wouldn’t have the chance to do so without former Hawkeyes such as Angerer.
“Special relationship to have because he is a linebacker,” Doyle said. “I’m a linebacker. We’ve both played in the same conference in high school.”