Iowa signed 22 football players for its 2017 class. As part of the ongoing Next Generation series, looking at the players about to join the Hawkeyes, Land of 10 Iowa reporters Scott Dochterman and Bobby La Gesse take a look back at the recruiting process for members of the class. Up today is 2-star Marquette University (Wis.) High School punter Ryan Gersonde.
Marquette University High School punter Ryan Gersonde picked up a scholarship from the Hawkeyes rather than walk on at Wisconsin or Michigan. Gersonde lived in Australia from age 2 until he was 14.
Q: What’s a piece of advice that you’d give another recruit?
Gersonde: “I’d like to say, I guess take everything with a grain of salt. A lot of coaches will BS you. Tell you what you want to hear. Don’t ignore them; always go somewhere where you’re most comfortable and where they’re most honest and up front with you. That’s what I would tell future guys. Go where you feel most comfortable.”
Q: What was the most creative thing done by a coach during the recruiting process?
Gersonde: “At Michigan they had an Aussie punter [Blake O’Neill] two years ago, the kid that dropped the snap [against Michigan State]. He was my host, which is kind of cool because we had that Australian bond. They were all incredible. Great times at all of them.
“The basketball game at Iowa [against Ohio State] was really cool, getting to sit by the court. I saw Greg Oden; he was there. I walked right by him. ‘Wow, there’s Greg Oden.’ “
Q: What was the funniest story from your official visit to Iowa?
Gersonde: “The food. I’ve never been more full in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever said to myself, ‘Oh, my God, they’re feeding us again. Oh, my God, I’m getting food again.’ I almost said that. It was good, though. I’m definitely going to need that.
“We had a good time in general. I was comfortable. It was cool. I always thought Iowa was a cornfield. Going there, I was like ‘Oh my, this is really cool.’ Just the city, I didn’t expect that. I expected a little campus, but I didn’t expect that. I can’t believe how big the city was.”
Q: What’s been the reaction of people to you picking Iowa?
Gersonde: “[Iowa fans are] everywhere. I went to the NCAA Tournament here in Milwaukee. I went to the Iowa State game [against Purdue], and I was wearing my Iowa sweatshirt. I got a lot of hate for that. I got so much more from [Iowa fans] … ‘Go Hawks.’ I didn’t expect that at all, especially in Wisconsin territory. I didn’t know how big their outreach is.
“I was trying to get through a row, and there were Badger fans. They’re like, ‘Sorry, we’re not going to let you through.’ “