Bobby La Gesse/Land of 10
Camron Harrell came to Iowa as a safety and moved to wide receiver during preseason camp.

Iowa recruiting mailbag: Are athletes divided evenly between offense and defense?

Have Iowa football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Wednesday for the Land of 10 Iowa recruiting mailbag to discuss Hawkeyes recruiting. This week, we’ll discuss balancing out athletes on both side of the football and worst case recruiting scenarios.

KF once said Micah Hyde would have been Iowa’s all time leading WR. My question is do we even out the athletes enough on both sides of the ball

— Clint Harms

This is an interesting question, especially with so many multi-positional athletes like Tracy Cousins and Samson Evans heading to Iowa in the next few recruiting classes.

The answer is yes. If Iowa sees a need it is willing to move a player from one side of the ball to the other. For example, Camron Harrell entered Iowa as a defensive back. The plan all along was for him to likely play safety. Harrell was also a standout high school wide receiver and the Hawkeyes saw a need for depth at the position. So, Harrell switched to wide receiver in camp.

The lack of wide receiver production last year and the inability to develop wide receivers makes switching any and all athletes to wide receiver a tempting proposition for fans. Iowa did it with Harrell because they felt like they needed an extra athlete there. The biggest issue with wide receiver in recent years was the talent identification and development process the last few seasons, not ensuring enough players ended up there.

Iowa always seems to recruit several players that fall under the athlete designation. They could excel at multiple spots on the field. Iowa’s general philosophy is to let a kid play where he wants to when he arrives.

That philosophy helps Iowa on the recruiting trail. Like with Harrell, circumstances may change where a Hawkeye ends up, but it’s worth remembering the coaching staff has a vision for where a recruit will fit in best. In the ideal world, the player plays that spot. That’s what happened with Hyde and it worked out best for everyone.

What would it mean if John Waggoner and Max Duggan go somewhere else?  We’d lose the top player 3 years in a row.

— Jeff Schulz

Man, going right for the worst case scenario? First off, it’s way too early to say if this will happen or not or break it down too much. Iowa appears to be in good standing with both players.

Yes, Iowa did lose the top in-state 2016 prospect, wide receiver Oliver Martin, to Michigan. John Waggoner, a 4-star defensive end, is No. 1 in 2018 and Max Duggan, a 4-star quarterback, is atop the Class of 2019.

Each looks like a potential impact player and each holds offers from some of the top teams across the country. Landing either, or both, won’t be easy.

It feels wrong to call Waggoner a luxury item, especially since he would be the highest rated player in the Class of 2018.

But it almost feels that way.

The Hawkeyes are deep at defensive end. The jewel of the Class of 2016, 5-star end A.J. Epenesa, already looks like a future star.

Iowa will gladly take Waggoner, but losing out on a defensive end wouldn’t hurt as much as a quarterback. Outside of the positional importance, the Hawkeyes don’t hold a quarterback commitment for 2017. In fact, there isn’t an obvious option for who Iowa will bring in. Duggan fills a huge long-term need at the most important position on the field. That is why he is Iowa’s most important recruiting target right now.

Have a question about Iowa recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10Iowa and we’ll try to answer it in a future mailbag. Check to see if your issue already was addressed by reading previous Iowa recruiting mailbags here.