IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa isn’t going to be on the mind of a Florida football prospect. It’s a fact Kelton Copeland is certain of because when he was a 17-year-old from the Sunshine State he sure as heck didn’t know where it was.
“First of all, I probably wouldn’t have been able to point Iowa out on a map, and, secondly, I would have thought that’s the other side of the world,” the Iowa wide receivers coach said.
Iowa unveiled its two new coaches, offensive line coach Tim Polasek and Copeland, in a Thursday press conference. Both will likely be tasked with selling the Hawkeyes in states Iowa already recruits.
For Copeland and Florida, that just means showing a recruit a map of Iowa on his phone and explaining why he headed to the Midwest to play quarterback for Emporia State in Kansas in the 1990s.
“The biggest obstacle getting them to understand, yes, it’s a different way of life, but it’s still a good way of life,” Copeland said. “In a lot of ways, to be honest with you, it’s a better way of life. So that’s probably the biggest obstacle.”
It’s showing kids there is such a thing as Midwestern hospitality, and while the pace of life is slower than Miami, it can be a benefit, especially for someone with the primary objective of playing college football.
Copeland is used to selling flyover country to Florida recruits. He did it for the last four years at Northern Illinois.
There is no guarantee Copeland will still recruit the Sunshine State. Coach Kirk Ferentz said he is still figuring out what everyone’s recruiting role will be going forward.
But there is a good chance he’ll get the opportunity. Iowa already targets Florida, signing running back Kyshaun Bryan and defensive back Josh Turner from the state in the 2017 class.
Copeland is also familiar with Midwest recruiting, including Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and Indianapolis.
“If it’s Chicago, if it’s Kansas City, wherever coach Ferentz and the rest of the staff decides to put me, I’m confident in my abilities,” Copeland said. “I know what we’re looking for. I know what our goals are with this program and the type of kids we want here.”
Polasek, a former Concordia University quarterback and Wisconsin-Stevens Point assistant, is comfortable recruiting in Wisconsin. He has connections across the upper Midwest, but he knows Wisconsin best. Most importantly, Polasek, a former logger, easily connects with the people in the area.
“I really have a relationship, I think, that it’s easy to talk to those guys when you know you’re going into a community,” Polasek said. “And if there’s a steel factory there, you know what they’re going through.”
If there isn’t a mill for a 1,000 miles, Polasek still likes his chances to connect with a prospect.
“I’m totally confident you could drop me off with a helicopter in the desert and we’ll go find some people to build a relationship with, and find out who the biggest guy is that can bend and move,” Polasek said, “and do our best to get him educated on the University of Iowa. Not only that, get him on campus multiple times and go from there.”
Both were brought in to oversee the development at offensive position groups, but they were also brought in to recruit.
Both are confident in their recruiting abilities, but only Polasek brought up a desert recruiting guarantee.
“(I’ll) get him on campus multiple times and go from there,” he said.