Before June 1, high school football recruits spent 15 months unable to meet face-to-face with college coaches or receive campus tours. The unprecedented dead period brought on by the pandemic forced them into building relationships virtually.
Caden Crawford felt strongly enough about the bond built with Iowa that he verbally committed to the Big Ten program in February. He visited Kinnick Stadium for a spring practice in April, but, again, couldn't meet with coaches or tour facilities.
The Lansing (KS) High defensive end remains committed to the Hawkeyes heading into his official visit on June 25. He believes it will confirm his feelings about them.
Crawford (6-5, 240) also felt like he needed a comparison for Iowa. That led him to an unofficial visit to Kansas State this past weekend.
"It went really well," Crawford told HN. "I really enjoyed it."
He's been open with the Hawkeye coaches about why he made the stop.
"They understand how some people go through the recruiting process and want to see everything," Crawford said.
He'll be joined on the Iowa official visit by fellow Class of 2022 verbal commitments Jayden Montgomery, Aaron Graves and Jack Dotzler. Other top targets also will be on hand.
"I’m just really looking forward to meeting all the coaches and seeing the facilities," Crawford said.
Again, he still hasn't met any of the Iowa coaches in person or toured the facilities.
Kansas State, Nebraska, Minnesota and Oklahoma State also offered Crawford scholarships.
"I’m not visiting anywhere else as of right now," he said.
Rivals and 247Sports rank Crawford as a three-star prospect. The former sees him as the No. 4 player in Kansas and the No. 27 weak-side defensive end nationally in '22. The latter rates him No. 3 in his state and the 77th defensive lineman in the country.
Crawford recorded 78 tackles, 18 of which went for loss, and four sacks. He also forced five fumbles.
Here's a look at Crawford's junior highlights: