Iowa Could Be Closing in on Kicker Commitment
Keith Duncan was set. He secured a scholarship at a school less than a two-hour drive from his home.
Then, he was presented with another opportunity. One that intrigued him.
Now, he’s planning a visit to Iowa. He’s seriously mulling a preferred walk-on opportunity with the Big Ten West Champions.
Duncan (5-foot-10, 155 pounds) was verbally committed to Furman of the FCS on a half scholarship. He appreciated that opportunity but the opportunity to play on the sports biggest stage might be too hard to pass up.
The Hawkeyes are about out of scholarships for the 2016 Class and are searching for a preferred walk-on to come in and earn a ride. They graduated two-year starter Marshall Koehn this fall.
Iowa Assistant Seth Wallace reached out to Duncan last week. If he sees what he likes on his visit, the Matthews (N.C.) Weddington High could end up committing to the Hawkeyes.
“There are a lot of other things I could name but the thing that I would be most excited about is playing in front of the fans,” Duncan said. “After watching the Rose Bowl I saw how dedicated the fans were and no matter what the score they will always cheer on their team. Just looking up the Iowa entrance into Kinnick (Stadium) gives me the chills.”
It’s looking like Duncan could officially visit Iowa City on Jan. 22 but final arrangements still are being made. It would be his first time on campus.
“I’ve just seen pictures and virtual tours and multiple YouTube videos. I’m very excited to visit,” he said.
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With Koehn gone, a pair of redshirt sophomores, Miguel Recinos (walk-on) and Mick Ellis (scholarship), top the depth chart heading into spring practice. Recinos kicked off twice and connected on two extra points in mop-up duty during ’15. Ellis red shirted this year after kicking seven PATs and missing his lone field attempt (29 yards) as a true freshman in ’14.
“(Wallace) told me he wants me to come in and compete for the starting job going into camp, hopefully earning a scholarship my sophomore year,” Duncan said.
Duncan said Maryland and N.C. State were heavily recruiting him but coaching changes at those schools altered the relationship. Indiana showed interest. He also considered Coastal Carolina and Elon during the process.
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Duncan enjoyed a stellar senior season at Weddington High. He connected on 22 of 29 field goal attempts, including all of his tries from 50 yards and in. All of his misses came from 53 yards out or more and he knocked five from beyond 50 through the uprights.
Duncan established state records for most field goals in a career (51) and in a season (22) as well as for consecutive point after attempts made (107).
“Keith is an outstanding kicker,” noted national kicking coach Chris Sailer writes on his website. “He has a strong leg and makes kicks with excellent consistency. Field goals are a real strength. One of the most consistent performers in the nation. Kickoffs are solid and improving. Does very well under pressure. Keith has a great attitude and work ethic. He has a bright college future.”
If Duncan ends up at Iowa it won’t be completely foreign to him. He said his grandfather lived in Des Moines for 16 years and he’s researched Iowa City.
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“I’m pretty familiar with the state,” he said. “That some of (the University of) Iowa’s buildings used to be a part of the capital is pretty cool. The biggest switch for me would probably be the weather change. I have been training this week in sleeveless shirts and shorts to try to get used to the cold weather if I go there.”
Duncan, who plans to major in Biomedical Technology, liked what he heard from Wallace in terms of football program stability and the school as a whole.
“He said the coaching staff feels great about the incoming recruiting class and expects to stay at Iowa for a while. The school is amazing. From the campus to academics, there’s nothing that can match up to it,” Duncan said.
“What I really liked about (Wallace) was that every time I talked to him he was very serious. I can tell he’s not the type of coach that tolerates goofing around. He strictly wants to win. As a kicker most people don’t think we are a part of the team but if you ask my high school coach he would tell you I would always be on the sideline screaming for my teammates to succeed.”
Duncan also likes that Iowa City offers him a chance to give back to the community.
“There is a children’s hospital right across the street (from the football facility) so I could see me and my future teammates spending a lot of time there, giving back and making a kid’s day. I raised over $1,400 dollars this year for pediatric cancer. So that really meant a lot to me,” he said.