Coe Commitment Big for Iowa

December 19, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Rodney Coe

Rodney Coe (from Azpreps)

When we learned the news on Sunday afternoon that four-star running back Rodney Coe had verbally committed to Iowa, that sent a shockwave through the Hawkeye Nation.

Coe is a big back with alleged 4.50 speed. If that is legit, then it’s impressive in his 6-3, 240-pound frame. Once he gets into Chris Doyle’s strength and conditioning program, he might lose a few pounds of high school weight and trade it out for Iowa football weight, which mens more lean muscle which should make him more agile and quicker.

There is a reason why he was considered one of the nation’s Top 20 running backs; he’s good. Check out this link to see a pair of his highlight videos and when you get done with those, go to google and type in his name to see more.

This is Iowa’s highest rated running back commit since Albert Young in 2003, but it depends on how you want to qualify the rankings.  Young was also a four star recruit in the Rivals system and according to their database was ranked as the 5th best all purpose back in the nation.  However, I tend to look at what schools were recruiting a player with offers to get a gauge of their ability, at least at this stage of the game, before they get to college and develop their skills.

Albert Young had offers from Iowa, Boston College and Wisconsin, according to the Rivals database and a 2002 interview I did with Albert that I was able to reference.  Young was a Wisconsin verbal at one point in the late fall of 2002.

Coe has had offers from Alabama, Florida, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Wisconsin and many more this fall.

Advantage, Coe.

Prior to Young, you have to go back to Ladell Betts in 1996 to find an Iowa running back that had the attention of the best programs in the nation like Coe has.  Betts was heavily recruited by Michigan, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Colorado and others at the time.  Before that, you have to go back to Tavian Banks in 1993 as Miami, Nebraska, Washington (they were good then under Don James). Before that?  Tony Stewart under Hayden Fry in the late 1980’s.  I’ll stop now.

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I guess to cut to the chase here, Coe is in pretty elite company.  He’s probably the most coveted running back commitment of the Ferentz era in terms of national interest.  Iowa has had its share of highly recruited players & US Army All Americans over the past 12 years, but Coe is at the head of the pack for the all important running back position, which makes him one of the Top Five or so jewels of the Ferentz era as it relates to commitments.

Iowa already has a verbal commitment from offensive guard Jordan Walsh whom Scout.com says is the #2 guard prospect in the nation.  They have a commitment from QB Jacob Rudock, one of the best pure pro style quarterbacks in the nation who just led his team to a state championship in Florida and is ranked as the #2 high school team in the nation.

This has been a pretty solid recruiting class for Iowa, shaping up as perhaps the second best ‘on paper’ class of the Ferentz era.

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Landing Coe is akin to a cherry on top, especially in the wake of the departures of Jewel Hampton and Brandon Wegher, plus Adam Robinson’s ‘suspension’ from the bowl game.  I don’t know what else to call it, especially since Ferentz said Robinson will have the option to return to the program in January.

With Marcus Coker being a better pure Big Ten back than Robinson (he lacks the excellent blocking skills Robinson seemed to be born with, but that is typical of first year backs) and unknown commodities in DeAndre Johnson and Anthony Hitchens (if he stays at running back), Rodney Coe appears to have a great chance to come in and play as a freshman.

Heading into this year, before August camp had begun, the Iowa staff had planned to use Marcus Coker.  That was when they had a healthy Jewel Hampton along with Adam Robinson and Brandon Wegher.  The backfield is not near as crowded for next year as it relates to proven experience.  Freshmen running backs can make an impact in this and most leagues.

My guess is Coe will have his chance to play next year, which likely factored into his decision to commit to Iowa.

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A friend of mine who certainly has an eye for talent called me tonight and left a message.  He said he rarely watches videos of high school players who commit to Iowa before they arrive on campus.  He watched the videos I linked related to Coe, and he was more than just impressed.

I already felt good about Coe, but his evaluation is the icing on the cake for a solid Sunday of Hawkeye recruiting.

When I think about the offensive line that Coker and maybe Coe and others will run behind next year, it certainly puts a smile on my face.

NOTES:  Kalvin Bailey was graded the top fullback recruit in the nation in 2005…Shonn Greene was a two-star prospect out of high school and moved up to a three-star prospect out of prep school…

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