Xavier Nwankpa

Pleasant Hill (IA) Southeast Polk safety Xavier Nwankpa rang in the New Year by releasing his list of Top 12 college football programs. Iowa and Iowa State were named along with a host of top schools nationally. 

Nwankpa (6-3, 185) helped the Rams post a 10-1 record and reach the Class 4A state championship game this fall. He recorded 41 tackles (35 solo, 3.0 for loss) and intercepted six passes, including a Pick-6. On offense, he rushed for 380 yards and eight touchdowns on 36 carries, and caught four passes for 35 yards. 

Like many prospects, the recruiting dead period that began last March has kept Nwankpa from visiting prospective schools in person. He had visited Iowa and Iowa State each three times, and Nebraska and Notre Dame one time each before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. 

The Hawkeyes have been building a relationship with Nwankpa after offering him a scholarship in October of 2019. He's built friendships with some of their '21 commitments. 

Rivals and 247Sports rank Nwankpa as a four-star recruit and the No. 1 overall prospect in the state for the 2022 Class. The latter sees him as the No. 37 player nationally regardless of position and the second-best safety in the country, while the former has him at No. 79 overall and sixth at safety.

Here's a look at Nwankpa's junior highlights: