Bobby La Gesse/Land of 10
Iowa running backs coach Derrick Foster (center) will coach Mekhi Sargent this season.

Iowa recruiting mailbag: Who is new RB Mekhi Sargent?

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 the newest quarterback offer, running backs and why it’s so hard for Iowa to land 4-star wide receivers.

What do you know about the new running back?

— @MarionWinterse2

The question is about Mekhi Sargent, who is transferring from Iowa Western Community College. Sargent showed good vision, patience and explosiveness in his junior college Hudl highlights.

Sargent is listed at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds. He excelled in his one season at Iowa Western, earning All-America honors. Sargent set the program single-season rushing record of 1,434 yards and averaged 7.1 yards per carry. He caught 12 passes for 91 yards and scored 16 total touchdowns.

Running back depth is a concern. Toks Akinribade’s future is uncertain because of an undisclosed medical condition.

Toren Young and Ivory Kelly-Martin are in line for playing time, and Kyshaun Bryan is coming off a redshirt. Camron Harrell, a former defensive back, spent the spring at running back, and Class of 2018 running back Henry Geil will take part in preseason camp.

At a minimum, Sargent helps Iowa fill one of its biggest holes and provides insurance in case of injuries at running back.

If his playmaking ability transfers from junior college, Sargent could carve out a role in the running game.

What position is the hardest for Iowa to land a 4-star recruit?

— Joe Williams

If including 2019 commitments, Iowa has added a 4-star prospect at every non-special teams position group but running back, linebacker and wide receiver in the last three classes.

To me, wide receiver is the toughest position group for Iowa to land the kind of impact player found as a 4-star recruit.

The Hawkeyes want to run the football, aren’t shy about saying so and preach the importance of blocking when discussing playing time with future wide receivers. The Hawkeyes are honest, but it’s not always what recruits want to hear, especially higher-caliber prospects.

These kinds of players have options, usually to play in more pass-happy offenses where even secondary receivers can approach 50 receptions. It’s hard for Iowa to compete against that and is why the recruitment of 4-star wide receiver David Bell is so important. He is the type of wide receiver prospect Iowa hasn’t landed in recent years.

Before journalist David Ubben moved to The Athletic this spring, he was the Dave Campbell’s Texas Football college football insider/editor. I spoke to him about Iowa recruiting in Texas and he summed up why it can be tough for the Hawkeyes to recruit wide receivers.

“Almost everyone in [Texas] runs the spread,” Ubben said in February. “[Players say] ‘I want to go play in what I played in in high school.’ There is a reason why if you look around the state pretty much [every college] runs the spread or some version of it. That’s a big reason why. It hurts on the recruiting trail” not to.

“So for Iowa, running a pro-style can hurt them. Guys are tentative to run that. It’s something different than they’ve had in their high school.”

Does Jirehl Brock move up his commitment date because of Tyler Goodson?

— @nobrnheaven

The recruitment of one 2019 running back doesn’t necessarily impact the recruitment of the other. Iowa is looking to bring in two running backs in this class and gladly would take both Tyler Goodson and Jirehl Brock.

Goodson, a 3-star recruit from Georgia, told Rivals’ Chad Simmons his finalists are Iowa, Wake Forest and West Virginia. He is scheduled to announce his decision on July 3.

Goodson took an official visit to Iowa on April 20 and liked what he saw on the visit.

Brock, a 4-star prospect from Illinois, plans to make a decision after taking official visits this summer. That won’t change because of Goodson’s commitment timetable. Brock already has taken official visits to Northwestern and Minnesota. He will visit Iowa State on Monday and Iowa on June 22.

Notre Dame is trying to come in late and swipe Brock away. It will be interesting to see if the Fighting Irish gain any traction with Brock.

What kind of quarterback is Alex Padilla?

This question popped up a few times in recent days after Iowa offered the 2019 3-star quarterback from Colorado.

Padilla is 6-foot-1, 190 pounds and threw for 2,678 yards and 40 touchdowns last season. On his Hudl highlights, Padilla looks a lot like other quarterbacks Iowa has offered since May.

He shows nice accuracy and an ability to connect on the deep pass. He is adept at evading the pass rush, keeping a play alive and finding receivers open downfield.

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.