Ferentz officially signs 21


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For Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz, 2010 proved to a typical recruiting year.

Hitting the Hawkeyes’ hotbeds, Ferentz nabbed 21 high-school standouts who resemble the type of players the Iowa coaching staff traditionally seeks.

Perhaps fitting the mold best is Solon native James Morris, the son of Hawkeye equipment manager Greg Morris.

For now, James Morris is listed as a linebacker. But Ferentz said after a conversation with former running-back coach Carl Jackson — who retired in February 2008 — he wouldn’t rule out putting Morris at tailback.

Given the recruit’s familiarity with the Iowa football program, James Morris had been on Ferentz’s radar for years.

“He’s a real mature young man. He’s got his head on straight,” the coach said on Wednesday. “We were excited about everything we knew about him. I think after he came to camp, we saw how he competed with the older players. That really impressed us.”

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Tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz had also been targeted for a couple years before finally committing to Iowa.

A native of Johnsburg, Ill., his name first fell on Ferentz’s ears thanks to current running-back coach Lester Erb, who heavily recruits in Illinois.

Ferentz, who will begin his 12th year as Iowa’s head coach next season, said his staff was determined to land Fiedorowicz, even after he had originally committed to Illinois last summer. Fiedorowicz decommitted from the Illini and reconsidered the Hawkeyes.

“We really felt like he connected well when he came on campus. He was here several times prior to making the decision elsewhere,” Ferentz said. “I guess we just weren’t convinced that in his heart that was going to be the best thing for him, and we certainly weren’t convinced it was the best thing for him, either. So we stayed in contact.”

There is also quarterback A.J. Derby, an Iowa City product. Although he had been considered at other positions, Ferentz made it clear on Wednesday that Derby would play quarterback.

Watching the former City High signal-caller progress throughout the past season, Ferentz said, it was apparent Derby has the potential to not only be a Division-I quarterback but an exceptional one.

“He clearly had been working on his footwork, throwing the football — that type of thing,” he said. “He’s a winner, and on top of that, we think he’s got a lot of upside at the quarterback position.”

Derby and defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat are the only Hawkeye recruits who started classes at the university this semester.

Sash, Greenwood out

When the Hawkeyes start spring practice in March, they will be without the services of Tyler Sash and Brett Greenwood for the second-straight year.

Ferentz confirmed on Wednesday the two starting defensive each both had off-season surgery after Iowa’s 24-14 win over Georgia Tech in the 2010 FedEx Orange Bowl, and they will be on sideline this spring. Neither will participate in the team’s open scrimmage at Kinnick Stadium on April 17.

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