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 2017 signees. Land of 10 Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse are hard at work visiting the Iowa incoming freshman class to show you more than its 40-yard dash times and recruiting rankings. We recently talked with 3-star TE Jacob Coons, but before we bring you the full profile on the Solon High School (Iowa) star, here is a sneak peek at what you can expect.
SOLON, Iowa — Hearing from Peyton Mansell wasn’t odd. His request, however, was.
Mansell was setting up a visit to Iowa for an entire week in April, culminating with the spring game. The Hawkeyes’ quarterback signee wanted to know if he could crash with Jacob Coons — Mansell’s future tight end — and Coons’ family.
The two are close and communicate often. Mansell’s question, and subsequent time spent in Solon, enhanced that relationship and helped them strengthen their bond before arriving on campus in June.
“We are going to be roommates once we are there,” Coons said. “It was a little prelim of what it will be like for the next several years.”
After the parents worked through the details, Mansell landed on one of the last flights into the airport in Cedar Rapids on Easter Sunday. The two didn’t waste time bonding, treating the first night like two little kids at an overnight.
“Didn’t really go to sleep,” Coons said.
Coons, a 3-star 247Sports Composite prospect, went to class and track every day. Mansell, also a 3-star 247Sports Composite prospect, would sometimes visit the Hawkeyes coaches or take in practice when he wasn’t studying the team’s playbook.
Mansell did make it to Solon High School to follow Coons around and see what classes in Iowa are like. It went worse than anyone expected.
“He said it was pretty boring because the only class that he came into was my math class and all we were doing was our thing and just studying,” Coons said. “So we really didn’t do much. We stayed in the back and did our own thing.”
Mansell wasn’t a fan of school, but he did enjoy seeing what life is like in Iowa.
“It was great getting to get to know everyone up there, visiting with Jake,” Mansell said. “It was like getting a head start on everything.”
The trip also let Coons get an idea of who exactly he is living with next year.
“He was always trying to play someone in basketball or wrestling my brother (A.J.),” Coons said, “Trying to beat him. He is super competitive and he’ll do anything to win.”
The two threw the football around for about 20 minutes one afternoon. It gave Coons a chance to see what Mansell’s arm is really like.
“Peyton has a nice, tight spiral,” Coons said. “He is easy to catch. He throws with some velocity, but it’s right where it needs to be.”
And so is Coons. Between the bonding during the home visit and living with him, Coons is positioned perfectly to be Mansell’s favorite target.
He didn’t plan it this way, but if it helps a few extra passes come his way in the future, so be it.
“That’s not how I wanted it to be, but once it happened I thought alright this might benefit me,” Coons said.
For the complete Iowa NextGen series, click this link.