Onlookers sympathized with Elic Ayomanor when he left his Canadian home for the United States back in 2019. The then 16-year-old was chasing his football dreams.
He appreciated the compassion but never viewed it as much of a sacrifice. His vision was clear.
"It wasn’t as hard as many people expect," Ayomanor told HN of changing address at a young age. "Personally, when I get homesick, I keep my goals and ambitions in mind, and remind myself that this is a necessary sacrifice to get to where I want to be in life. When you start forgetting about those goals is when it will get hard."
The move has paid off for the versatile receiver. Ivy League schools Yale, Princeton, Brown, Penn and Dartmouth jumped in first with offers. Bowling Green, Kent State and Liberty followed. Then came Power 5 programs West Virginia and Arizona, and on Monday, Iowa jumped in.
The Hawkeyes were known to Ayomanor years ago.
"One of my Canadian role models, Tevaun Smith, played football at Iowa," he said.
Smith attended Iowa from 2012-15, catching 102 passes for 1,500 yards, including a memorable 85-yard touchdown reception from C.J. Beathard in the '15 Big Ten Championship game. He spent three years in the NFL and has played the last two seasons in the CFL.
Iowa receivers coach Kelton Copeland and Ken O'Keefe, the quarterback coach, are leading the program's recruitment of Ayomanor. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound wideout spent his sophomore season at the Peddie School in New Jersey before transferring to Deerfield (MA) Academy.
"(Copeland and O'Keefe) said that my combination of size and speed would fit well in their receiver room. I think that they are both great guys, and I enjoyed coach Copeland's representation of the core values in the receiver room," Ayomanor said.
"I think that I’d fit well in the Big Ten in general, and Iowa would be a great option for that."
The Medicine Hat, Alberta native is looking forward to finding out more about Iowa.
"I’d like to learn more about the academic piece at Iowa and also just how the coaches run the program as a whole," he said.
That process could include a campus trip.
"I think there’s a good chance that I visit Iowa when the dead period ends. Meeting the coaching staff in person is important to me," Ayomanor said.
He's considering studying Dentistry in college.
Here's a look at Ayomanor's highlights: