The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Tuesday, Oct. 25.
Looking into the crystal ball
Wylie East (Texas) High School RB Eno Benjamin de-committed from Iowa on Sunday. The Wake-Up Call dove into the news on Monday morning. It continued to be a hotly discussed topic on social media and talk radio. Benjamin played a part, too, when he answered a question about whether he’s still considering Iowa.
that's not up to me. https://t.co/R4iZxCHbeT
— EB5™ (@eno_benjamin5) October 24, 2016
The story has legs. Such is the case during a bye week.
Joking aside, this is more than a one-cycle news story because it’s not just a Benjamin story. There is a bigger picture here beyond the whole Chevin Calloway thing. It’s how Iowa’s policy on commits not visiting other programs will affect the program going forward.
There is no doubt the policy is old school. In an ideal situation, it’s probably how recruiting could go. A player commits; end of the story.
It’s easy to say a player shouldn’t commit unless he’s 100 percent sold, but that’s not how it works in the real world.
Recruits can get pressured into making a decision. There is one position available for three players. First to commit gets it.
Coaches across the nation offering players at younger ages than ever before doesn’t help. Neither do coaching staffs recruiting over players from whom they’ve already received commitments. Then there’s the annual exodus of coaches who signed players for one school leaving for a new gig shortly after signing day.
That’s not to say any of that happened in this situation. It’s looking at recruiting in general, but players notice these things. Whether it happens at the program they commit to doesn’t change the fact that they know it happens.
Players are as much a problem as the coaches. They’ll flip their commitments more often than an IHOP cook flips pancakes each morning.
Other players will commit to one school only to leave when a better offer presents itself.
No one side is more to blame than the other. No one is 100 percent right. No one is 100 percent wrong. This is how recruiting works. Each group looks out for itself and, frankly, is trying to protect itself.
There are some recruits, namely those in state or with black and gold running through the family veins, where the Iowa policy isn’t a problem. Five-star Edwardsville (Ill.) High School DE A.J. Epenesa, as an Iowa legacy, fits in here.
With the Hawkeyes seemingly going after better caliber athletes now than in years past — their 2017 class was ranked in the top 20 by Rivals before the Benjamin de-commitment — this discussion isn’t going away.
Top-shelf recruits are like prom queens. They attract plenty of attention. Teams contact them, regardless if they’re committed.
Players will listen. Some do because they’re interested. Some do because they want to be polite. Some do because they want to keep open their options if a worst-case scenario emerges.
The high-tech 21st century recruiting world comes with a first-world commitment problem where a verbal pledge isn’t what it used to be. Recruits don’t view visiting another program as infringing on their commitment.
It’s why 4-star prospects such as Benjamin or Calloway planned to take visits. It can be easier to keep 3- or 2-star prospects with fewer options in line with a no-visit policy.
Recruiting isn’t black and white. Iowa wants to keep it that way. The Hawkeyes have every right to do so, but as long as they do, they must realize that something like the Benjamin situation could be in play because of it.
It’s a side effect of how Iowa wants to recruit.
King of the castle
It was a good day for Iowa CB Desmond King and the Hawkeyes didn’t even enter Kinnick Stadium.
The reigning Thorpe Award winner was named a semifinalist for the Thorpe Award on Monday. It’s given annually to the nation’s best defensive back. He was also named a semifinalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which looks at character, off-the-field accomplishments and what a player does on game day.