Iowa assistant Derrick Foster makes Tampa Jesuit a regular stop during his recruiting trips to Florida. The Tigers are loaded with talent.
The Hawkeyes landed safety Dane Belton from the school during the 2019 cycle. He started at the Cash position during the last half of his true freshman campaign.
Junior Vandeross paid attention while Foster was pursuing Belton. He studied the building of that relationship while also catching the Iowa coach’s eye.
It led to the Hawkeyes offering the Class of ’21 defensive back at the end of July. When NCAA rules allowed colleges direct contact with current juniors on Tuesday, Iowa connected with Vandeross.
Iowa State Kentucky, Louisville, Central Florida and Virginia also have offered scholarships. They’re playing catch-up here.
“A lot of those colleges are closer to my city. That’s cool. They keep in touch. But Iowa has set itself apart. They’ve been in consistent contact. I really appreciate coach Foster and what he’s been doing building that strong relationship. Iowa is on top right now,” Vandeross told HN.
As a sophomore, the 5-foot-10, 205-pounder picked off four passes, returning one for a touchdown. He totaled 57 tackles, including two for loss. He also scored on a punt return.
“I’m not much of a vocal guy. I’m more of a laid back guy. I have a strong work ethic and lead by example.I think my work ethic would help in Iowa’s defense. I’m a speed guy and a trash talker,” he said.
Iowa benefits from having two people close to Vandeross in his ear. Belton and ’21 Hawkeye defensive back pledge Jordan Oladokun are helping him with his recruitment.
“Oh, man, Dane is like my big brother. We talk all the time. I don’t really see anything that’s negative about Iowa. He likes it. He said he fits perfect in their defense. He likes everything about it; likes the campus and the atmosphere. He says it’s a great place,” Vandeross said.
Oladokun plays at nearby Tampa Gaither High.
“Jordan talks to me all the time. He was just texting me. Jordan is my boy. He lives like 15 minutes away from my house. He goes to school about two minutes away from me. We chat all the time. We played together in Little League,” Vandeross said.
And then there’s Foster.
“He’s a great guy. He’s funny. He has a very good sense of humor. Every time we talk, it’s like he’s a second father throwing a question me that I never heard before to make me think. It’s not a short conversation. I feel like we’re building a closer relationship with each other. That’s been great,” Vandeross said.
He’s looking forward to getting to know Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker, who also coaches the secondary. Vandeross is familiar with the program’s success in producing NFL defensive backs.
“Desmond King did great at Iowa and he’s very successful right now in the league. Iowa taught him. I like the way he plays. I’d say I’m similar. I’m pretty sure Dane will go to the league along with a couple other Iowa guys. I think that will be great,” he said.
South Carolina, where Vandeross originally lived, Miami, Cincinnati, Kansas and Kansas State are schools in contact with him that have yet to offer.
“I want to go into a program where I know I can reach my full potential and be the best I can be. I want the atmosphere to be a great fit for me,” he said.
Vandeross expects to make his college choice sometime next spring. He’s unsure of a major but is interested in clothing design.
Here’s a look at his sophomore highlights: