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 running back Henry Geil, but before we bring you the full profile on the Green Bay (Wis.) Preble star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Incoming Iowa running back Henry Geil shifted from overlooked prospect to prime target in the span of a few weeks.
As a running back with Green Bay (Wis.) Preble High School, Geil rushed for nearly 800 yards and 14 touchdowns in his junior season. The major offers were slow coming, but Iowa State jumped first. He and his father, LeRoy Geil, visited the Ames campus and enjoyed it.
“I was in awe,” LeRoy Geil said. “The facility, the newness, the youngness of the coaching staff. The running backs coach was a high-energy guy. He was impressive and seemed like a good teacher. This is a place that he could go and probably play because it’s a new regime. I was all fired up about it.”
Henry Geil planned another unofficial visit with the Cyclones but received a scholarship offer from Syracuse before his trip. Geil tweeted it, then noticed Iowa recruiting coordinator Kelvin Bell liked the tweet.
“That’s strange,” Geil remembered thinking. “I don’t know anything about Iowa. So I just followed Coach Bell and I was like, ‘Hey, I’m going to Iowa State in a couple of weeks. Could I just come down and visit, too?’ He was like, ‘Sure, why not.’ I ended up leaving there with an offer. It was kind of crazy. Then I had to go to Iowa State and keep quiet for two days, which was kind of hard.
“It was definitely a whirlwind. I went down thinking I was just going to see Iowa State, and I came back with an offer. Soon all these other schools started following me.”
The Iowa City visit changed Geil’s recruiting dynamic. As much as Henry and his parents enjoyed Iowa State, Iowa made a greater impression. They liked Cyclones coach Matt Campbell’s energy, but also appreciated Hawkeyes coach Kirk Ferentz’s stability.
“I knew right away that Iowa was great,” said Mary Schils, Geil’s mother. “That first visit … ‘This is something special.’ But we didn’t influence him at all in his decision making. We’re just glad that he came around to the same conclusion. There was something different. I know people say that all the time and all I can say is we felt it that first time we were there.”
Geil felt it, too, and he committed on April 23, 2017. He still has fond feelings for the Cyclones staff because they offered him first. But Geil knows they will fade once he arrives at Iowa’s campus.
“I talked to [assistant coach Tim] Polasek because every couple of weeks I was kind of checking in,” Geil said. “I asked him how practice was. He was like, ‘It’s getting rowdy because it’s Iowa State week.’
“Rivalries don’t change. I’m new to this. I’m a Hawkeye, but I’m not getting hit by these players, I’m not playing with them. I still have a lot of respect for the Iowa State program because they had been my first offer. But at the same time, it’s like, ‘OK now you’re the ones that I cannot lose to.’ It’s definitely different in that aspect.”