The recruiting war between college football programs is never ending. It’s as competitive a landscape as ever before, and every coach and program is looking for a new angle to exploit. The latest to dip his toes into the verbal recruit war was Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz, who took at dig at Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell and the entire program, along with other schools in the region.
On Iowa’s radio show, Brian Ferentz addressed the scholarship offers, saying, “What has sped things up (in recruiting) in our state, especially, is the guys in Ames and then the new guys in Minneapolis seem to have no problem really throwing early things out.” Ferentz added, “And what I’ve learned – certainly about the guys in Ames, and I think we’ll find this about the guys in Minneapolis — what does an offer really mean? I can tell you this much: If the University of Iowa offers you a scholarship and you commit to us, we intend to sign you.”
So Brian Ferentz is essentially upset that Iowa State and Minnesota are offering players for 2018 “too early”, in his humble opinion.
Considering just last year, Nick Saban and Alabama offered an 8th grader, I’m not quite sure what the complaint is? I’d say Alabama knows what its doing. But Iowa State offering a rising senior late in his junior year is “ludicrous”?
Even worse, Ferentz is questioning the integrity of Matt Campbell and P.J. Fleck. His point is that if Iowa offers a player, they won’t renege on that offer, like Iowa State or Minnesota might. But there’s little to no proof of that happening yet for Iowa State or Minnesota. Campbell has only had one and a half recruiting cycles (2016 barely counts since he was only on the job for a few weeks), and P.J. Fleck took the Minnesota job a few months ago. The entire accusation is a bunch of a bull and a scare tactic to players.
Here’s what’s going on: Iowa has basically been top dog in the state, and one of the top dogs in the Upper Midwest for as long as college football has been around.
But if its so-called “little brothers”, like Iowa State and Minnesota, start cracking into Iowa’s recruiting success in the region, the Hawkeyes will be in some trouble. First off, Iowa has never recruited great to begin with. The last four classes for the Hawkeyes have ranked between 40 and 60, according to Rivals.
In this latest recruiting cycle, 6 of Iowa’s 22 commitments in the Class of 2017 were in-state players. In 2016, that number was 5 of 24. By comparison, Matt Campbell had just one commit from Iowa in 2016 (just weeks after he took the job), but upped that number to 6 in the 2017 class.
Iowa is likely feeling threatened, as Campbell and his staff have proven they are tireless workers on the recruiting trial. While many of Campbell’s ties are in the Midwest, where he previously coached at Toledo, he and his staff are making a continued effort to get more guys locally, and try and get some of the best players in state.
Plus, the reality is the state of Iowa is not a recruiting-rich state, so there are only a handful of top players that Iowa and Iowa State are fighting for, along with any other out-of-state programs.
Iowa is used to being able to let a prospect play into his senior year, make sure he’s the quality and type of player they want, and then swoop in late, show him an offer, and get him to sign. With Matt Campbell willing, ready and fully prepared to compete for the best of the best, those days are over for the Hawkeyes. Same goes for a young, hungry coach like P.J. Fleck up in Minnesota.
Brian Ferentz can do all he wants taking shots at Iowa State, but in the end, he should just get himself and the rest of his staff on the recruiting trail earlier than they have in the past.
There’s new competition in town.
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