IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa’s 2017 football recruiting class was somewhat stagnant through the final recruiting weekend. Then it grew by nearly 47 percent in the final three days.
The Hawkeyes finished with 22 recruits overall after having 15 Sunday. On Monday, linebacker Nate Wieland, defensive back Trey Creamer and running back Kyshaun Bryan picked Iowa. On Tuesday, safety Geno Stone tabbed the Hawkeyes. On signing day, wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and defensive lineman Daviyon Nixon joined the Hawkeye party.
The late additions helped boost Iowa’s recruiting ranking from 48th overall to 42nd in the final 247 composite rankings. The Hawkeyes, ranked 11th in the Big Ten on Sunday, finished eighth in the conference – a decent recovery for Iowa.
Iowa 2017 recruiting class, rankings
|5-star DE||A.J. Epenesa||2||Edwardsville, IL|
|4-star OL||Tristan Wirfs||31||Mt Vernon, IA|
|3-star DL||Coy Kirkpatrick||74||Madrid, IA|
|3-star TE||Jacob Coons||91||Solon, IA|
|3-star OL||Mark Kallenberger||33||Bettendorf, IA|
|3-star DB||Djimon Colbert||45||Mission, KS|
|3-star DE||Levi Duwa||37||Wellman, IA|
|3-star RB||Ivory Kelly-Martin||49||Oswego, IL|
|3-star QB||Peyton Mansell||15||Belton, TX|
|3-star DB||Matt Hankins||91||Flower Mound, TX|
|3-star WR||Brandon Smith||127||L. Cormorant, MS|
|3-star DB||Camron Harrell||73||Bradley, IL|
|3-star DB||Josh Turner||159||Delray Beach, FL|
|3-star WR||Max Cooper||259||Waukesha, WI|
|3-star WR||Henry Marchese||202||Lincolnshire, IL|
|3-star CB||Trey Creamer||114||Cartersville, GA|
|3-star RB||Kyshaun Bryan||38||Ft Lauderdale, FL|
|3-star S||Geno Stone||115||New Castle, PA|
|3-star WR||Ihmir Smith-Marsette||167||Newark, NJ|
|2-star DL||Daviyon Nixon||132||Kenosha, WI|
|2-star LB||Nate Wieland||170||Iowa City, IA|
|0-star P||Ryan Gersonde||N/A||Milwaukee, WI|
What is Iowa’s recruiting class ranked?
Early enrollees: 0
5-star commits: 1
4-star commits: 1
3-star commits: 18
247Sports composite ranking: No. 42
Big Ten ranking: No. 8
Intended targets who signed Wednesday with Iowa
Wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette
Defensive lineman Daviyon Nixon
It was an odd month for Smith-Marsette, who originally had been committed to Rutgers. He visited Iowa on Jan. 20 and de-committed from Rutgers to weigh his options. Smith-Marsette then opted for a visit to Minnesota on Jan. 27 and committed to the Gophers on Jan. 29. But by Jan. 31, Smith-Marsette backed off his commitment. His final choice came down between Iowa and his home-state school of Rutgers, and he selected Iowa on Wednesday afternoon.
Nixon had been committed to Northern Illinois but took trips to Purdue and Iowa in his final two weeks. He decided Wednesday morning to join the Hawkeyes.
Three takeaways from Iowa’s National Signing Day
Iowa stood at 15 scholarships on Sunday afternoon after its biggest recruiting weekend of the season. By coach Kirk Ferentz’s news conference on Wednesday, the Hawkeyes had signed 22 players. That’s a 47 percent jump in just three days. In that group, Iowa signed a running back from Florida, a defensive back from Pennsylvania, a wide receiver from New Jersey, a defensive lineman and punter from Wisconsin, a future linebacker from Iowa City, and a cornerback from Georgia. That’s a wide net in which Iowa snagged all of its late targets.
Reeling in the receivers
The Hawkeyes’ struggles at wide receiver last year may have kept them from a second straight Big Ten West Division title. Iowa became even more depleted in the offseason when backup Jonathan Parker elected to transfer and rotational starter, Jay Scheel, decided to stop playing football because of injuries. So Ferentz and his staff sought wide receivers in this class, and they pulled out at least four.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Brandon Smith, Henry Marchese and Max Cooper all signed letters of intent with the likelihood of competing right away. Smith-Marsette was recruited by other schools to play cornerback, but he begins his career at receiver in Iowa City.
“I think we’ve got two big receivers with Brandon Smith and Henry Marchese,” Ferentz said. “(I’m) happy about that and that was important to us to help our size a little bit. Max Cooper is an extremely productive, successful player, played on a state championship team, and I don’t want to call him nifty, the guy looks like a football player. I’m not saying he’s (current Iowa receiver Matt) VandeBerg, but looks like a football player so excited about that. Ihmir caught our attention back in December. Frank Verducci, Sr. recommended Akrum (Wadley) to us five years ago and he put a seal on this one, too.”
Iowa finished with six in-state recruits, including four located within 20 miles of Iowa City. The most high-profile signee was 4-star tackle Tristan Wirfs of Mount Vernon. The other 3-star selections near the campus include tight end Jacob Coons (Solon), linebacker Nate Wieland (Iowa City) and defensive end Levi Duwa (Kalona). The Hawkeyes also inked Quad Cities-area tackle Mark Kallenberger (Bettendorf) and central Iowa lineman Coy Kirkpatrick (Madrid).
“We want to get the best guys in the state, that’s always by design,” Ferentz said. “Sometimes they’re going to be close, sometimes they may be in the far west. We have a lot of guys from the northwest corner of our state; that’s just one of the things that happened this year.”