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 tackle Cody Ince, but before we bring you the full profile on the Unity (Wis.) star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
MILLTOWN, Wis. — Cody Ince is a small-town guy who lets his play — rather than his mouth — do the talking.
Ince lives about an hour northeast of Minneapolis on a series of lakes that make his area one of the world’s best freshwater environments. He loves to fish and hunt, but for what he’s known outside of Balsam Lake is his football prowess. That’s what led Iowa, Minnesota, Virginia, Maryland, Purdue and host of other schools to offer the 6-foot-6, 260-pound offensive lineman who can dunk a basketball and run the fast break like a point guard.
When around 30 schools lined up for Ince’s services last spring, Unity High School coach Cory Nelson said, they started cutting down candidates for many reasons, one of which was truthfulness. The more straightforward, the better. That’s why Iowa became an early favorite to win Ince’s commitment and one of the reasons why he picked the Hawkeyes.
“They treated him really well down there,” Nelson said. “I don’t think it was like just special for him or the recruits. They’re genuine, good people. When I talked to [assistant] coach Brian Ferentz or [offensive line coach Tim] Polacek, they’re willing to call or listen to you at any time if I have questions or whatever.
“I think there was like 25 or 30 D-I schools [interested] last spring, and I don’t think I could say that about all of them. They’re just genuine, good people, and Cody can see that. He’s a smart kid. He felt like he fit in really well down there.”
Recruiting combines relationship building with sales. The top recruiters can make an athlete feel welcome at their school while pushing for their commitment. Sometimes false promises enter the mix, which leads to hard feelings.
At Iowa, there are no promises about playing time. Coaches sell opportunity through hard work. That appealed to Ince, a 3-star tackle, as he was deciding between programs.
“Iowa, they didn’t sugarcoat anything,” Ince said. “They told you how it was and how it’s going to be. Some schools tell you how it’s going to be, but they don’t point out all of the details that maybe players haven’t liked in the past. [Iowa coaches] just kind of told you how it’s going to be. If you like it, it’s a good place for you. You’re going to do well.”
Some athletes just want to hear about the sunshine and rainbows of college football. Iowa coaches shuffle in the challenges and adversity. It’s not a program for everybody, but Ince liked what he heard.
“Yeah I do because you can’t make any excuses and you know what’s expected of you and you know what’s going to happen,” he said. “It’s what drives some people away.”
Polacek, who is a Wisconsin native, won over coach Nelson as much for what he did for another Unity player, defensive end Logan Hendrickson, as for his honesty with Ince.
“I never felt that [Polacek] was blowing smoke at all about anything or lying to me to try to get Cody to commit,” Nelson said. “Tim was up, it was before signing day, we have another D-I player [Hendrickson], and Tim was worried how his recruiting process was going. I think that says a lot about him. He’s not offering Logan, but he was worried about where he was going and he thought he would reach out to some of his connections because he liked Logan.
“[Polacek] was always really frank. ‘This is what’s going to happen. This is how it’s going to happen. This is what you expect.’ I didn’t feel like he ever beat around the bush with us which was appreciated.”