IOWA CITY, Iowa — Putting together the Class of 2018 went about as perfectly as Iowa hoped it would.
The Hawkeyes locked up 10 players, including U.S. Army All-American defensive tackle Tyler Linderbaum, by early July. De-commitments were held to a minimum.
Top recruiting targets from the entire 2018 recruiting cycle ― defensive end John Waggoner and safety Dallas Craddieth, both 3-star prospects on the 247Sports composite ― committed in December. Then 3-star linebacker Jayden McDonald, the No. 1 recruit on the team’s board for the last month, signed in February.
Almost everything went Iowa’s way but not everything did. Here are three players Iowa missed out on who could have helped the class.
LB Will Honas, 3-star
Linebacker was Iowa’s biggest need in the class, and the Hawkeyes were hoping to land at least one player capable of making an instant impact. Will Honas was that player, potentially able to start from Day 1. At Butler Community College (Kan.), he recorded 96 tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 2 interceptions in 2017.
Honas picked Nebraska over Iowa in December. The Hawkeyes didn’t sign a junior-college linebacker and never landed a player as ready to play this season as Honas. Any of Iowa’s four 2018 linebacker signees could play this season, however. The position group is that wide open.
WR Micah Jones, 4-star
The inclusion of Micah Jones on this list probably is a little unfair. He committed to Notre Dame in February 2017 before signing in the early signing period in December. Iowa offered him in November 2015, but the Fighting Irish became a clear favorite.
He is on the list because the one thing Iowa didn’t land in the class is a top-end wide receiver.
Wide receiver is the biggest concern on the roster. It will continue to be until the position produces more consistent results. A recruit of Jones’ ilk would have gone a long way to helping to solve the issues at the position.
LB Ben VanSumeren, 3-star
Of all the de-commits, the loss of Ben VanSumeren probably hurt the most. The Hawkeyes liked the potential of the athletic Essexville, Mich., product. VanSumeren committed to the Hawkeyes on Nov. 10, but de-committed five weeks later and signed with Michigan in December.
At the time, his departure left the Hawkeyes needing to add at least two more linebackers.