Land of 10 has embarked on a series of Next Generation stories as Iowa writers Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse travel the country to meet this year’s incoming class of freshmen. This week we visited 3-star OT Mark Kallenberger of Bettendorf, Iowa.
BETTENDORF, Iowa — OL Mark Kallenberger was down to two schools to extend his football career, and his older sister Kaycee was prepared to sway him to her favorite.
It was early March 2016. The 6-foot-6, 270-pound Kallenberger, from perennial power Bettendorf, had scholarship offers from a majority of regional colleges, but his choice was between Iowa and Nebraska. Kaycee, a 6-5 all-region basketball star at Division III Augustana (Ill.) College, made her intentions clear: she wanted her youngest brother to be a Hawkeye.
“I was getting really mad,” Kaycee Kallenberger recalled. “I remember the time we were at B-Dubs (Buffalo Wild Wings) and he was really thinking about Nebraska. He really likes it there. Are you kidding me? I was getting really angry. I’m like, ‘What do I do? He needs to go to Iowa. He needs to be there.’ So I followed him around.”
Kaycee played the Iowa Fight Song just about every time she saw her brother for a two-week period. She turned it on while he was doing homework or other business.
“You were very pushy, weren’t you?” Mark Kallenberger shouted at his sister. “I remember I was going to the bathroom and she put her phone right near the door and started playing the Iowa Fight Song. She’s like, ‘Don’t you just love this song?’”
“I’m like, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to just run out to this?'” Kaycee said. “‘This is a great song.’ I did it a couple of times.”
It almost became too much for Kaycee when middle brother, Jack, considered walking on at Iowa State before choosing Iowa as a preferred walk-on. Finally, Mark made the call. Only Kaycee was about the last one in the family to know.
“I remember I was in the library (at Augustana) and we don’t get service in the library,” Kaycee said. “I remember Mark finally committed and I’m like, ‘Oh My God.’ I was so happy I almost started crying.”
I am very excited to announce that I will be furthering my education and football career at the University of Iowa! pic.twitter.com/TUjcsC1Wy5
— Mark Kallenberger (@m_kallenberger) March 31, 2016
Their father, Jay, texted Kaycee with the news, but her lack of cell service prevented her from sending out texts. It drove her crazy. Finally she had to leave the library to learn the full story.
“I could not even sleep that night because I was like, ‘Yes! Yes!'” she said.
Mark made it known on March 31, 2016, that he planned to compete at Iowa. He signed his letter of intent on Feb. 1, 2017. He’ll participate in summer workouts at Iowa beginning June 12.
It’s likely Mark would have picked the Hawkeyes without his sister’s annoying tactics. Nonetheless, they worked.
“We told coach (Kirk) Ferentz he owes Kaycee dinner,” Jay Kallenberger said, “because she was the one that chased Marky around playing the Iowa Fight Song.”
Related: Once overlooked, WR Max Cooper could see early playing time at Iowa.
Henry Marchese’s recruiting odyssey ended with a dream offer from the Hawkeyes.
For the complete Iowa NextGen series, click this link.