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 2017 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are hard at work visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. We recently talked with 3-star punter Ryan Gersonde, but before we bring you the full profile on the Milwaukee star here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
MILWAUKEE, Wis. — Ryan Gersonde and his family heard the runaround from college football coaches for more than a year.
Some would call, others would text, send emails or make eye-popping pitches to the punter, all of them saying how much they wanted him. Then it was like they lost his number.
“One minute they’re very interested in me and then they stop in a second,” said Gersonde, who attends Marquette University High School. “That happens in the recruiting process.”
Enter Iowa assistant coach Seth Wallace, who recruits Wisconsin and the Chicagoland area. Wallace, the Hawkeyes’ linebackers coach, was truthful with the Gersonde family from his first overtures. Iowa was interested in Gersonde, but the staff was unsure it would offer a punter a scholarship.
“He never gave us any fake really anything,” Gersonde said. “He didn’t ever promise us anything that wasn’t going to happen. We appreciated that after talking to a lot of coaches that maybe did say, ‘You’re our No. 1 guy,’ and then offer someone else. That was a big factor in our decision.
“It was more like, ‘We want you, but we’re not sure we can offer you a scholarship yet.’ He came to me before, they were having a meeting deciding whether they were going to pursue a punter and he wanted to lay that out. ‘Look, we’re going to have a meeting in the next week to decide that. I’ll let you know.'”
With Ron Coluzzi graduating, there was a need at the position. Near the end of recruiting season, Gersonde was torn between accepting preferred walk-on opportunities at Wisconsin or Michigan. Wallace understood Iowa probably would lose a walk-on battle with the other two schools, partly because they had previous contact with him. Cost also could enter in the decision, and in-state tuition at Wisconsin is less expensive that out-of-state tuition at the other schools.
Wallace understood the family’s dilemma and the situation.
“What I liked about him is he said, ‘Look we know you’re looking at Madison as a preferred walk-on,'” said Stacey Gersonde, Ryan’s mother. “He said, ‘We know that they’re in your backyard. We know the coach, (Paul) Chryst, is a good guy and we know if we’re going to compete with that, we’ve got to look at a scholarship for you. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you go to Madison?'”
Iowa offered Gersonde a scholarship on Jan. 24. Gersonde planned to see Michigan three days later but instead switched to Iowa for an official visit. Gersonde returned home on Jan. 28, and the family had a meeting.
“We laid all the options out and it was up to Ryan to see all the differences and decide, ‘What do I really want out of my college experience?'” Stacey Gersonde said. “The fact that Iowa is putting their money where their mouth was and the commitment and the honesty and the straightforwardness and all of those things factored into it. Not just the scholarship — which is a blessing, a fantastic opportunity — but factoring all of the factors. I think he made the decision and it was his decision to make where he felt he’d fit the best.”
Gersonde chose Iowa on Jan. 31 because of several factors, including the scholarship, the atmosphere and the opportunity to compete right away. But Wallace’s direct approach helped tipped the scales in the Hawkeyes’ favor.
“Seth was one of those guys that communicated,” Stacey Gersonde said. “He was straightforward, very honest and we really respected that out of the program.”
— Ryan Gersonde (@ryan_gersonde) January 31, 2017
For the complete Iowa NextGen series, click this link.