Ferentz talks 2013 recruiting class in press conference

BY BEN ROSS | FEBRUARY 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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Twenty-one football players will call themselves Hawkeyes for the first time during the upcoming 2013 football season, as part of Iowa’s most recent recruiting efforts. The majority of players come from the Midwest, but a few will travel to Iowa City from faraway lands such as Texas and New Jersey.

“We’re obviously very pleased with the class,” Iowa head football coach said as he addressed the media Wednesday. “I think for the most part, we filled some of the needs we felt were important. And most importantly, I think we found players who we feel are going to fit our program — that’s probably the secret of anything.”

In addition to the 21 players that were awarded scholarships for to attend and play football for Iowa, the program will have at least 13 freshmen walk on to the football team this year and compete for a spot on the 72-man roster.

The class, ranked 52nd in the nation according to rivals.com, certainly isn’t the best work Ferentz has done during his time here, but the 14-year Iowa coach was able to get a few players that experts say could make a lasting impact on the program.

“I don’t know if anybody jumps out to be an automatic playmaker,” ESPN Midwest recruiting nation reporter Jared Shanker said on Monday. “[Linebacker] John Kenny and [defensive back] Malik Rucker could be pretty good players; some people to look out for. Malik had a lot of offers; I can see him being a three-year contributor or starter.”

All but one of the incoming players are freshmen. The lone upperclassman is wide receiver Damond Powell, who spent the last two years at Snow Community College in Ephraim, Utah. He’s a player who Hawkeyereport.com recruiting analyst Tom Kakert said could see the field right away, citing the wide receiver’s speed as his greatest attribute.

“You have to look at Damond Powell,” Kakert said Tuesday. “When you get a [junior-college player] you’re generally looking for them to play right away.”

The class includes one quarterback, three running backs, two tight ends, five wide receivers, two offensive and defensive linemen, and three linebackers and defensive backs.  The majority of the coaching staff’s work had already been done before the start of the season, though. Thirteen of Iowa’s signees verbally committed to the school before the squad ever played a game in 2012.

Iowa did fill a gigantic hole by signing five receivers — Powell, Andre Harris, A.J. Jones, Derrick Mitchell, and Derrick Willies.  But what’s interesting, though, is that the Black and Gold were able to reel in that many pass catchers while lacking a wide-receivers position coach throughout the majority of the recruiting process. It was officially announced earlier this week that wide-receiver coach Erik Campbell is no longer a part of the team, even though there have been such rumors since early January.

Ferentz said he hopes to find a replacement to Campbell in the next week or so but wouldn’t glean any information as to where he was searching for a new coach, whether it be within the Iowa program or elsewhere.

“We’ll do what’s best for the team,” he said. “And I’ve given it a lot of thought, certainly. And we’ve been busy with recruiting. Now we’ll return our attention to that. Hopefully 10, 14 days we’ll be able to have everybody in the right seats and go forward.”

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