Ferentz lauds incoming Hawkeyes


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Twenty-four new players will join the Iowa football family next season. Iowa has received letters of intent from 23 of those players as of Wednesday night, with another expected soon from Johnny Lowdermilk.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz met with the media Wednesday — national signing day — and said, “[I] just feel great about the group collectively.

“I think we addressed needs, but more importantly, I think it’s a group of guys that we are very, very eager to work with. Really pleased with the way the last group progressed after a semester, and I think I can anticipate the same kind of progress with this group as we start next year with these guys. It’s a great group.”

Highlighting the class are four prospects listed as four-star players by Rivals.com, including Rodney Coe of Edwardsville, Ill. The 6-3, 230-pound Coe has been tabbed as an “athlete” instead of a particular position by most recruiting pundits, but Ferentz said Iowa’s intent is for him to play running back.

According to Rivals, Coe clocks a 40-yard-dash time of 4.5 seconds.

“Our intentions are to play him at running back, and we have shared that with him, and we are excited about that,” Ferentz said. “We think he’s a good running back.”

Coe isn’t the only running back in the group. In fact, Iowa’s class is flooded with backs — four of them, to be exact. Coe is joined by Jordan Canzeri, Mika’il McCall, and Damon Bullock. Ferentz said he’s “excited about the group.”

Jake Rudock may be the quarterback handing the ball off to those backs some day. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., product gave an oral commitment to Iowa in June 2010, but Ferentz had plenty of good things to say about Rudock.

“We are thrilled,” Ferentz said. “Just all of the intangible things he possesses. You know, obviously we want guys who can throw the ball accurately and have to have requisite talent, but all of the things that made us feel good and the fact that he led his team to a state championship, I think is real indicative of the young man he is.”

A few of Iowa’s best additions came late, including Darian Cooper, who picked the Hawkeyes over Michigan State. The 6-1, 275-pound defensive tackle is a former high-school teammate of current Hawkeye Marcus Coker, and he is joined in Iowa’s 2011 class by another DeMatha High School (Hyattsville, Md.) product in defensive back Jordan Lomax.

Ferentz said the area is “relatively” new for Iowa, but the Hawkeyes are excited to bring in Cooper and Lomax. The 2010 commitment of Coker may have opened a pipeline.

“I think when a player has experience and good experience, a positive experience, not only in football but in all areas, I think he believes in our program and believes in the university and likes living here,” Ferentz said. “So when prospects come out from your neighborhood or area or school, it’s a good thing, and certainly that helped us, I think, with both Jordan and Darian.”

Rivals ranks Iowa’s class as the nation’s 29th-best as of Wednesday night.

“It’s a group, then, that is widespread in terms of their talents, the positions that we tried to address, and we are really looking forward to working with the group as we move forward,” Ferentz said.

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