With National Signing rapidly approaching, Dear Old Gold will be bringing you in-depth profiles of several of the Hawkeye commits and signees in a segment called “Meet the class of 2014.”
The Iowa Hawkeyes struck gold in the 2013 recruiting class when Detroit Prep Star, Desmond King, signed a letter of intent to attend the University of Iowa. Lightning may have struck twice in the East Village of Detroit in 2014. Cornerback/Safety Jalen Embry, of King High School (alma mater of Basketball Hall of Famer George Gervin), is set to sign his letter of intent with the Iowa Hawkeyes just two weeks from today. He passed on 10 other FBS scholarship offers including offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Cincinnati and Illinois to choose the Hawkeyes.
From watching tape of Embry, one can’t help but see the similarities between him and King. Embry can be described as a glider, a player who makes things look very easy on a football field. He has great body control and balance to go along with a 4.46 40-yard-dash time that he makes look very easy with his seemingly effortless, long strides. He also has good hands and shows the ability to high-point the football when it is thrown in his direction. This is evident through his 34 receptions (including 9 touchdown receptions) and two interceptions his senior season. The similarities to Desmond King are no coincidence. The two have become close through their time together, playing on the same 7-on-7 team in Detroit. “I look at (King) as my big brother, I can see myself playing with him for the next few years and then going to the league with him, we have that same kind of mentality,” Embry said.
It is that mentality that Embry speaks of, that makes him appealing to any coaching staff. Beyond his physical abilities, Embry has the intangibles of a player that could be a future leader of the Hawkeye’s defense. “I can take what I learn from the coaching staff and use it on the field and also help others who either need help or are slacking, I think of myself as a teacher on the field,” Embry said.
While Embry is listed as an athlete on Rivals, and was a two way standout at King High, Defensive Coordinator Phil Parker, has made it very clear that he is going to stay on the defensive side of the football to start his career at Iowa. Embry’s versatility could prove to be a huge asset for the Hawkeye Defense. With a trend starting in the NFL and College Football of teams coveting defensive backs that play both cornerback and safety, Embry fits that versatile roll, with a mentality that should to get him on the field sooner rather than later. “Coach Parker wants me to play corner and maybe move me up to safety. I just want to help the team any way I can, and wherever coach wants me to play, I’ve got his back,” Embry said.
Part of Embry’s decision to attend Iowa has to do with the possibility of him playing early in his career. With the graduation of B.J. Lowery, Coach Parker has made it clear that if Embry continues to work hard, he has a chance to play as a true freshman. The unanimous 3-star corner from Detroit fits extremely well into the Iowa defensive scheme. He’s has good height for a corner at 5’11” and is still growing into his 180 pound frame. He has a frame that could add 10-15 pounds without sacrificing any of his smooth athleticism. Once strength coach, Chris Doyle is able to work with him this summer, Embry could very well be physically ready to play this fall.
Beyond anything that Embry does on the football field, he is excited for the opportunity to play Big 10 Football and get a free education at a top-notch school in the University of Iowa. “Grades come first and Iowa is a great academic school,” Embry said. His upbringing has not been easy and he is looking forward to the University of Iowa as a new beginning. “Growing up, life has been hard. I like to keep all of the past events in the past and move on to bigger and better things,” Embry said.
Lookout folks, the Iowa Secondary could be turning into Detroit West. Welcome to Hawkeye Nation Jalen, we’re happy to have you and excited to see what you can do!