Notebook: Ferentz happy with recruits


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Kirk Ferentz was rather happy on late Wednesday afternoon when he sat down in the auditorium of the Hayden Fry Football Complex. The most recent National Signing Day was mostly over for him.
The success of his efforts was more than visible, both in his smile and on his roster. Iowa signed 18 newcomers to the program Wednesday, with an expected 19th to sign Thursday.

Ferentz said he was pleased with what the program was able to accomplish. He spoke highly about the recruits and their respective talents, noting that there’s a lot of potential among the group.

“We’re very happy about the prospects that have signed with us and committed to us,” Ferentz said. “I know it’s a very exciting day for all of them as well, their coaches, their families, and their support networks. It’s just been a really special day.”

Ferentz jokingly said that the return of Brandon Scherff was the program’s biggest get during the recruiting process — and, in more ways than one, he wasn’t completely wrong.

Because of Scherff’s return, Ferentz and Company didn’t have to focus as much on trying to sign as many offensive linemen (they signed two). In turn, Iowa put a heavy emphasis on the defensive side of the ball this past recruiting season. Of the 18 who signed Wednesday, 11 are set to play under Phil Parker’s guidance.

Moreover, five of those 11 are listed as defensive backs and another four are listed at linebacker.
This, of course, was not by chance. Of the 11 starters Iowa had on defense during its 2013-14 campaign, six were seniors — including five between the linebacker and secondary positions. The addition of so many defensive backs and linebackers helps give Iowa depth and competition, Ferentz said.

“The guys who we were involved with who we’re really excited about and think they’re good players,” he said. “One thing I was intrigued about with most of them is they have two-way flexibility … I think immediately of Micah Hyde, who was not a highly recruited guy, but he had great ball skills.”

Looking ahead to recruiting 2015

While this year’s recruiting season is wrapping up, Ferentz said he already has an eye on next year’s. Specifically, he’s looking to add depth to the offensive line, especially at tackle.

Ferentz said that Scherff returning was an early Christmas present, of sorts, for the program, but they know that with his leaving next year — presumably to the NFL draft — the program will need to place a strong emphasis on recruiting that position, among others.

“I think we’ve kind of been, I don’t want to say stealing from our offensive-line pool, but we’ve been cutting it pretty close over the last couple years,” the head coach said. “That is one area we need to make sure we address.”

Spring schedule slowly coming together

Ferentz also gave some insight into the early portions of Iowa’s spring schedule on Wednesday. Iowa will begin spring practice during the last week of March.

The program plans on returning to Des Moines this spring, too, to put on a practice in the central part of the state.

“We’ll have more to announce on that [later],” Ferentz said. “We’re excited about that, and I think second weekend of April is when we’re looking.”

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