Meet The Signees


1. Tyler Wiegers

Height: 6’4″

Weight: 213 pounds

High School: Detroit Day (MI)

Scouting Report: Wiegers is a prototype pro-style quarterback. He has the prototypical height and he will continue to add bulk to an already sturdy frame. He is very technically sound and has the ability to drive the ball down the field outside of the hash. He has excellent touch and accuracy on deep balls. Wiegers will redshirt in his freshman season and unless Jake Rudock gets injured, will be a backup in his redshirt freshman season. However, by his redshirt sophomore season, it is very easy to see Wiegers as the heir apparent to Jake Rudock.

2. Jay Scheel

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 170 pounds

High School: Union (IA)

Scouting Report: We will list him as a Quarterback for now but Scheel could very well end up at wide receiver for the Hawks. He is supremely quick and changes direction effortlessly. His balance is what makes him stand out. He runs low to the ground and is not easily tripped up. Scheel’s game is very similar to Northwestern quarterback/wide receiver Cain Coulter’s. He has the ability to run and has a plus throwing arm as well. Will the Iowa staff use Scheel at quarterback as the Wildcats do with Coulter? That remains to be seen. For now, Scheel will need to get into the weight room and add some bulk to sustain the Big Ten pounding.

Running Back

3. Markel Smith

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 210

High School: Vianney (MO)

Scouting Report: At 5’10” 210 pounds, Smith has the prototypical make-up of a future Hawkeye work-horse running back. Besides his obvious power, his best attributes are his vision and his patience. Smith trusts his blockers and has great vision to see the whole field and anticipate running alleys. He looks to have a ready-to-play frame already and will only benefit from Chris Doyle’s summer strength program. He runs behind his pads with power and has great lateral agility for his size. His powerful running style is exemplified by his ability to squat 500 pounds. He seems to be a similar runner to many past Hawkeye running back greats and has all the tools to fit extremely well into the Iowa zone running scheme.

4. CJ Hilliard

Height: 5’10”

Weight: 185

High School: St. Xavier (OH)

Scouting Report: The tape of CJ Hilliard reveals a word that would describe many Hawkeye running backs of the past. “Solid.” Hilliard is a very instinctive runner that does a good job of making one cut and hitting the hole. At 5’10” 185 pounds, he has good power as displayed in his ability to hit on the defensive side and pass block on the offensive side of the football. “Pass protection is one of my biggest strengths,” Hilliard said. There is no question about this. While, he didn’t get the bulk of the St. Xavier carries he has a frame that could add some weight and be an every down back. Another thing that Hilliard does well is catch the ball out of the backfield. He has soft hands and could be a real asset in the screen game. Early in his career, Hilliard could profile more as a third down back while learning from the likes of Mark Weisman, Jordan Canzeri, and Damon Bullock. When those guys are gone, Hilliard looks like a guy that could be a feature back. At 5’10” Hilliard is very similar to former Iowa running back Adam Robinson. Flexibility to move to safety, if need be, also makes him very enticing.

Offensive Line

5. Keegan Render

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 310

High School: Indianola (IA)

Scouting Report: Render is a massive guard prospect with a strong punch to create separation at the line-of-scrimmage. He fits well in the Hawkeye offense with his ability to move laterally and run-block in a zone scheme. Render will need a red-shirt year, as most Iowa lineman do, to trim down, add some muscle, and improve his flexibility.

6. Lucas Legrand

Height: 6’5”

Weight: 265 pounds

High School: Dubuque Senior (IA)

Scouting Report: Legrand is a slender guard/tackle prospect that plays with good pad level and leverage. He has good athleticism, good length, good feet, and can cover a lot of ground with his initial step. Because of this he has the tools to play guard or he could slide out to right tackle if need be. He will need to add a lot of bulk to his frame, to be ready to play, and will almost certainly redshirt his freshman season.

Defensive Backs

7. Jalen Embry

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 180 pounds

High School: King High School (MI)

Scouting Report: From watching tape of Embry, one can’t help but see the similarities between him and Desmond 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.

8. Omar Truitt

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 185 pounds

High School: St. John’s College High School (D.C.)

Scouting Report: Truitt is a versatile defensive back who brings an energy and confidence to the position, beyond his years. He is a cornerback that likes to get up and press receivers at the line-of-scrimmage. He also does a great job helping in run support as he is the surest tackler of any defensive back that Iowa recruited in 2014. Truit is another versatile defensive back that has enough of a nasty streak to him, that he could possibly play safety if needed.

9. Marcel Joly

Height: 5’11

Weight: 185 pounds

High School: Forestville Millitary Academy (MD)

Scouting Report: Joly’s size is ideal for a Big Ten cornerback. At 5’11” 185 pounds, he will not need to tack on much, if any, weight to be ready to play against Big Ten wide receivers. Second, his burst is elite. As a running back, Joly was able to accelerate through the hole quickly, and outrun pretty much any defender he competed against. Finally, and probably the most special thing about his game, is his agility. He is incredibly light on his feet and is able to stop on a dime and change direction seemingly effortlessly. While most of Joly’s highlights were on the offensive side of the football, he certainly has the skillset to play the cornerback position. Also expect him to contribute on special team’s early in his Hawkeye career. He has the speed and burst to contribute in the punt and kick return games, as he did in high school.

10. Josh Jackson

Height: 6’1”

Weight: 175 pounds

High School: Lake Dallas (TX)

Scouting Report: Jackson is a defensive back that will likely play safety at Iowa. He is a good athlete who features good closing speed. He is a tremendous open field tackler and does a good job of reading quarterback’s eyes and disrupting passing lanes. He is more of a ball-hawking safety, but does have the ability to physically enforce as well.

11. Miles Taylor

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 185 pounds

High School: Gonzaga (D.C.)

Scouting Report: Taylor is a safety prospect that is a menacing hitter. As mentioned previously, Josh Jackson is the ball-hawking safety in the 2014 Iowa class while Miles Taylor is the enforcer. He is a tad undersized for the position but he has the nasty streak to be an enforcer in the defensive backfield for the Hawkeyes. He has the ability to play close to the line-of-scrimmage as a pseudo linebacker. He also possesses good balance and fluid change of direction that will also work in his favor.

Defensive Line

12. Matt Nelson

Height: 6’7”

Weight: 245

High School: Xavier (IA)

Scouting Report: Nelson is a long, rangy, defensive end prospect with good flexibility and a lightning quick first step. His athleticism for his height is extremely impressive and will be a huge asset for him in college. He bends well, so he plays with a low pad level and good leverage for his height. He will need to continue to work on using his hands more to shed blockers. In high school he didn’t have to do so, as much, because his first step was enough to beat high school offensive linemen.

13. Terrence Harris

Height: 6’2”

Weight: 240 pounds

High School: Paramus Catholic High School (NJ)

Scouting Report: Harris is a defensive end prospect that plays with great leverage and pad level. While he is somewhat undersized, he has long arms and gets good separation off of the snap. He has great closing speed, but his best asset is his motor. He never gives up on a play and is routinely seen making tackles down the field on the other side of the field.


14. Aaron Mends

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 200 pounds

High School: Winnetonka (MO)

Scouting Report: At 6’0” 200 pounds Mends is somewhat undersized for the linebacker position. However, he has the make-up to be a dynamic middle-linebacker in the Hawkeyes 4-3 scheme. He will have to put on some weight, but that will likely not be a problem once he enters Chris Doyle’s strength program. The first thing that sticks out on tape about Mends is his ability to hit and take on blocks. He shows he is fearless hitting the hole against linebackers, fullbacks, and even linemen. On one particular play on his game film, Mends put a hard charging, near 300 pound linemen, flat on his back to disrupt a play. Mends also has great instincts. He seems to be able to anticipate where the play is going and gets to the right gap quickly because of his good speed. Mends looks to be a plus pass rusher and flashes the ability to drop back in coverage. While pass coverage is admittedly an area that Mends need to improve on, he shows the ability to drop into coverage and change direction fluidly.

15. Jameer Outsey

Height: 6’3

Weight: 225 pounds

High School: Franklin High School (NJ)

Scouting Report:  Outsey, on tape, presents many intriguing assets to his game. The versatility he displays manifests itself, not only in the number of positions he can play, but in the number of ways you can use him at the linebacker position. Standing at 6’3’’ and weighing in at 225 pounds, Outsey has a slender, rangy frame that could be molded in several different ways. The most likely situation is that he will be molded into an outside linebacker because of his quickness and instincts. However, he has an ability that the Hawkeyes are not used to seeing in their linebackers. He is a very disruptive pass rusher. He uses his hand very well to shed blocks and has good length and flexibility to turn the corner on offensive linemen. With Phil Parker’s wild 3rd down blitzing schemes, it is very easy to see Outsey fitting in one of those zero-down-lineman blitzing schemes. Outsey represents the changing in the Iowa defense from a rarely blitz team, pre Phil Parker, to a modern-day heavy blitzing team. Down the road, we could very well see Outsey as a jack-of-all-trades outside linebacker.

16. Ben Niemann

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 185 pounds

High School: Sycamore (IL)

Scouting Report: Niemann was a phenomenal wide receiver and safety in high school, who will be asked to move to outside linebacker. He has the speed and athleticism to do so, but will need to add a considerable amount of weight to be ready to play on Saturday’s. If he is able to do so, he would be an athletic and rangy outside linebacker.

17. Parker Hesse

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 205 pounds

High School: Waukon High School (IA)

Scouting Report: Hesse and Niemann have many similarities. Like Niemann, Hesse played other positions in High School. However, Hesse does have some experience at outside linebacker and shows the ability to drop into coverage and disrupt the passing game. He will need some time to bulk up and develop, but Hesse has the instincts and athleticism to play outside linebacker.

Note: Iowa also signed two kickers in the class in Dillon Kidd and Mick Ellis

Tags: Football Iowa Hawkeyes National Signing Day

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