The topic of Iowa football and recruiting in Florida came to a head Tuesday night in Des Moines when Recruiting Coordinator Eric Johnson said the program would not be making Florida a priority in the near future.
Johnson’s comments echoed that of Kirk Ferentz from last winter when he decided not to assign one of his assistant coaches to the Sunshine State for the first time during his tenure at Iowa. Not surprisingly, this last recruiting class didn’t have any Florida preps in it, also the first time that has happened under Ferentz.
Johnson said they feel they have the best chance to land and keep players on campus who come from no farther than six to eight hours away form campus. This is obviously not a hard and fast rule, but for the most part you will see this in an Iowa recruiting class.
While Iowa has had several successes or ‘hits’ from their Florida recruiting efforts, they have had far more ‘misses’. Here is the Florida Recruiting Record from the Kirk Ferentz era.
Fred Barr (HIT): Great player, great motor, great CyHawk Smack Talk
Mo Brown (HIT): Possibly the most physically gifted receiver Iowa has had in my lifetime. Shaky start, solid finish
Colin Cole (HIT): Still the biggest starting defensive tackle of the Ferentz era
3 of 3 Hits
Charlie Bodiford (MISS): Transfered
Aramis Haralson (MISS): Transfered
Jhante Jones (MISS): Transfered
George Lewis (HIT): Injuries lowered his ceiling, but had a nice senior year
Benny Sapp (MISS): Would have been a bit hit but off the field actions led to his dismissal
1 of 5 Hits
Antwan Allen (HIT): ‘Tweezy’ had a solid career and was pressed into action early following Sapp’s dismissal
Darius Butler (MISS): Transfered
Fabian Dodd (MISS): Transfered, wound up at Iowa State
Abdul Hodge (HIT): Big time hit, one of the best people Iowa has ever recruited
CJ Jones (HIT): Juco transfer who did well, cousin to Brad Banks
3 of 5 Hits
Marcus Paschal (HIT): Great player, one of the last ‘great ones’ Iowa has gotten from Florida
Ed Miles (HIT): Injuries kept him from being as good as he might have been
Larry Thomas (MISS): Transfered
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2 of 3 Hits
NOTE OF DEMARCATION: Bret Bielema left Iowa for Kansas State for the 2002 season. He was still with Iowa during the 2001 season and was Iowa’s Florida recruiter until he left. He had a 9 of 16 hits to misses ratio and some of the biggest hits of the Ferentz era which more than offsets the misses. If you are familiar with the movie ‘Stripes’, cue the scene where Bill Murray said ‘And then, depression set in’.
2003: 0 of 1
Chris Brevi (MISS): Transfered
2004: 1 of 1
Damian Sims (HIT): Sims, along with Albert Young are the last Iowa running backs to make it at Iowa four years
2005: 0 of 2
Vernon Jackson (MISS): Transfered
Kalvin Bailey (MISS): Transfered
2006: 0 of 2
Lance Tillison (MISS): Never factored into two deep
Troy Johnson (MISS): Never factored into two deep
2007: 0 of 1
Jevon Pugh (MISS): Transfered
2008: 0 of 2
Jeff Brinson (MISS): Transfered
David Blackwell (MISS): Academics
2009: 0 of 1
Josh Brown (MISS): Transfered
2010: 0 of 1
De’Andre Johsnon (MISS): Transfered
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2011: To Be Determined
Torrey Campbell: TBD
Jake Rudock: TBD
2012: To Be Determined
Damantas Venckus: TBD
Greeg Mabin: TBD
Since Bret Bielema left and up to the departure of De’Andre Johnson, we are talking 11 players from Florida and 10 misses with four still to be determined.
Ouch. Freaking Ouch.
In looking at this list, what Johnson said on Tuesday makes perfect sense. Iowa has no business spending money and resources recruiting in a state where it is getting that type of ‘return’ on investment.
Of course that is a bit in jest; other schools are finding and developing talent. Bielema kept doing it at Wisconsin and as you can see by this chart, others are still spending time in Florida albeit to mixed results on the field.
Iowa needs to either find the right person or people to recruit Florida or stop doing it. It appears for now they are choosing the latter route.