IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa’s big official visit weekend for the Class of 2018 is over. It ended with the Hawkeyes exactly where they started, with 15 high school commitments and Iowa Western Community College defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon ready to enroll in January.
Iowa didn’t pick up a commitment from the visits. That’s not a surprise, as most of the recruits previously planned to make other official visits.
This is a great time to reset Iowa’s Class 0f 2018 and break down Iowa’s biggest needs. These five positions are ranked in order of importance.
The most important position on the field is Iowa’s top recruiting priority. That tends to be the case when a team still is looking for a signal caller for its class in December.
The Hawkeyes, like most programs, want a quarterback in nearly every class. They need one for depth purposes in 2018. Starter Nate Stanley is a sophomore and Peyton Mansell redshirted this season. Beyond that, question marks remain with the other scholarship quarterbacks. Junior Tyler Wiegers lost the starting competition to Stanley in camp and is in position to potentially be a graduate transfer and play immediately. Also, sophomore Ryan Boyle was the third-string quarterback most of the season, but he didn’t travel to Nebraska for the regular-season finale.
Oregon State commit Spencer Petras, a 3-star prospect, is the name to watch. He re-opened his commitment with the Beavers coaching change. Iowa moved quickly, extending an offer and securing an official visit last week. He wrapped up an official visit to Iowa on Monday.
If the Hawkeyes can’t close the deal with Petras, things get interesting at quarterback. They offered Matthew Baldwin last week, but he committed to Ohio State.
It’s easy to argue that linebacker is more important than quarterback for 2018. That’s especially the case when discussing Butler Community College linebacker Will Honas.
Iowa is losing all three starters after the Pinstripe Bowl and Honas has the potential to start from Day 1 on campus. He earned NJCAA All-America first-team honors this season while recording 96 tackles, 10 for loss, and 2 interceptions.
The Hawkeyes, who hold commitments from linebackers Dillon Doyle and Ben VanSumeren, seem content to let Honas’ recruiting play out. They are the favorites to land him, according to Matthew Bain of the Des Moines Register. Kansas State, Mississippi and Pittsburgh are also in the mix.
Honas told Rob Howe of HawkeyeNation.com that he will sign this month and make his decision around the first day of the early signing period (Dec. 20-22).
If Honas goes elsewhere, Iowa is likely to regroup at the position in January. Honas, though, is the only linebacker currently on Iowa’s recruiting radar with a likely shot to play next season.
The Hawkeyes need more production from their wide receivers. It needs to come from the players already on the roster. It also needs to come from new additions.
Wide receiver is another position where depth is needed. It’s why 3-star prospect Calvin Lockett and 2-star recruit Drake Stoops took official visits this past weekend.
The Hawkeyes sit in good position with both. Lockett told Land of 10 he plans to visit Florida International in December. A visit to South Florida is possible, too.
Iowa wide receivers coach Kelton Copeland is visiting Lockett in Florida on Monday, according to Blair Sanderson, of Rivals.
— Blair Sanderson (@BlairRIVALS) December 11, 2017
Iowa has consistently been one of his top programs during the recruiting process.
“Ever since they started recruiting me, they’ve always been talking to me, keeping in touch,” Lockett said. “I’ve been doing my research and seeing they are a great team and have a good program there.”
Iowa’s main competition for Stoops appears to be Ohio. He visited the Bobcats in October. Iowa offered him last week.
“What is attractive about Iowa so much is Big Ten football is special,” Stoops said. “Playing Power 5 football is cool.”
There isn’t much of a need at defensive back because Iowa already holds three commitments at the position. The reason the Hawkeyes are considering adding another defensive back is because of one name: 3-star safety Dallas Craddieth.
The team considers him a difference maker in the secondary, and the only way Iowa adds anyone to the position is if they are a top-shelf talent. It’s a lot like the recruiting situation of defensive end John Waggoner, who committed last week.
Craddieth’s recruitment is expected to last into January. He will take an official visit to Illinois this weekend and is planning to visit Nebraska and Indiana next month.
Running back is the only other position where an addition like this is possible. Iowa is recruiting 4-star running back Markese Stepp, according to Josh Helmholdt of Rivals.
The Hawkeyes picked up a commitment from 3-star tight end Anthony Torres in July, but he flipped to Western Michigan on Sunday.
A tight end isn’t a major need and Iowa could go without one in this class. The team is set with sophomore Noah Fant and redshirt freshman T.J. Hockenson at the position. Jacob Coons redshirted this season and 3-star recruit Logan Lee is locked up for the Class of 2019.