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What are the odds Iowa lands top 2018 recruiting target Jayden McDonald?

Iowa recruiting mailbag: Why the Hawkeyes are in good position to land Jayden McDonald

Have Iowa football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Iowa recruiting mailbag to discuss Hawkeyes recruiting. This week, we’ll discuss the odds of Iowa landing linebacker  Jayden McDonald and how the recent departures impact recruiting.

What’s your gut feeling on Jayden McDonald?

— Joe Johnson

Iowa is in good position to land Jayden McDonald, a 3-star linebacker from Georgia. Now, I felt the same way about Thomas Johnson last January and Will Honas in December, too. Neither ended up at Iowa, proof that the prediction business with recruiting is never easy.

The Hawkeyes are one of three finalists, along with Kansas State and Mississippi, for McDonald. The fact he visited Kansas State last weekend and didn’t commit is a good sign if you’re Iowa. Coach Kirk Ferentz and linebackers coach Seth Wallace visited McDonald on Monday.

Blair Sanderson of Rivals reported that Ferentz also visited Florida linebacker James Miller on Tuesday to try to finalize an official visit. Iowa offered Miller last January. Typically, the coach visiting  multiple players at a position group in January is an indication a staff is worried about landing a commitment from the top prospect.

I don’t think that’s the case here as Miller is more of an inside linebacker and McDonald is an ideal fit for Iowa at its LEO spot. The recruitment of one may not impact the other here, especially with Florida State offering Miller on Tuesday. Also, these moves indicate Iowa might be comfortable filling out the 2018 class with two linebackers, if it’s the right two prospects.

I give Iowa 35 percent chance at landing McDonald, with his other two finalists sitting with somewhat similar odds. It’s hard to tell if there is a true favorite here.

With the recent departures what does that do to the focus before signing day?

— @TJack311

I’m not sure the losses of offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand and wide receivers Adrian Falconer and Matt Quarells make too much of an impact. The Hawkeyes locked up Connecticut prep school wide receiver Nico Ragaini earlier this month. Iowa started recruiting Oklahoma wide receiver Nikia Jones have to offer him. If Iowa adds another receiver to the Class of 2018, odds are it’s Jones.

The Hawkeyes added an offensive lineman over the weekend when Waukee (Iowa) High School offensive lineman Kyle Sorensen accepted a preferred walk-on spot. There are three scholarship offensive linemen in the Class of 2018. Iowa doesn’t need another to round out the class and has yet to offer to a 2018 offensive lineman in January.

Are most players who fall under the category of athlete still being recruited for a specific position?

— Clint Harms

Yes. Teams have an idea of where they want a prospect to play and are usually up front about it. Iowa is that way with prospects. Often, the Hawkeyes let the players known generically as athletes start at the position they want to play, even if the team believe a prospect’s future is at a different position.

Trey Creamer, from the Class of 2017, was one of the most unique cases of Iowa recruiting an athlete. He had the potential to play wide receiver or cornerback, and coach Kirk Ferentz told the media last year the Hawkeyes would let Creamer pick his position when he arrived on campus. Creamer redshirted last season while working at cornerback.

Have a question about Iowa recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10Iowa and we’ll try to answer it in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Iowa recruiting mailbags here.