IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Class of 2018 was ready for its place in the spotlight for Iowa this week, coming off a big January recruiting weekend with the February signing period a little more than a week away.
Instead, it’s sharing center stage with the Class of 2019 following the de-commitment of 3-star Indiana cornerback Larry Tracy on Sunday night.
In a month that’s been as much about future classes as it has been about rounding out 2018, it’s fitting the final days before National Signing Day are following the same path.
In the world of recruiting, things are always interesting, with a chance of getting wild without rhyme or reason. After all, everything about the recruiting world has sped up. Offers go out to players earlier and earlier. Commitments in an athlete’s junior year are the norm. Players making that commitment following their sophomore season in high school, the way Tracy did, is as common as snow in the Iowa winter.
The Tracy de-commitment highlights the downside of the modern recruiting landscape. Sometimes, prospects make decisions too early. It happens.
A player excels at a young age, gets an early offer from a Power 5 program and jumps on it because he likes the staff, players and program. That all occurs before his recruiting can really play out, before additional offers come his way.
This is what occurred with Tracy. The Hawkeyes offered last May. He committed in July. Within the last few weeks, Purdue and Minnesota offered him. Tracy thought it was best to explore his options, making sure he was heading to the best program for him.
So he’s doing it. This doesn’t have to be the end of Tracy and Iowa. Tracy still considers the Hawkeyes one of his top schools, as he told Blair Sanderson of Rivals.
If both parties want it, the recruitment can continue.
The benefit to this de-commitment occurring in January 2018, for both sides, is time. There is plenty of time for Tracy to find his perfect it. There is plenty of time for Iowa to regroup with the Class of 2019. The current crop of juniors won’t sign for 11 months, at the earliest. The Hawkeyes have offered only one other 2019 cornerback, 3-star prospect Derrick Miller from Missouri.
That number is likely to increase.
Iowa doesn’t have that same time with the 2018 class, though. Signing day is closing in fast. The Hawkeyes need at least one linebacker. Coaches would be thrilled if they could fill that spot, and the position left open for the best available athlete, with linebackers Jayden McDonald and James Miller.
The 3-star prep linebackers took official visits over the weekend. Landing either is no sure thing. Last week, Florida State offered Miller, a native Floridian. McDonald, who is from Suwanee, Ga., visited Purdue on Monday and is heading to Ole Miss on Friday.
As the Tracy situation showed, recruiting never is boring. The Hawkeyes just hope it’s the good kind of interesting when it’s all said and done with McDonald and Miller.