Growing up sans a big time football allegiance (my parents went to Kansas and UCLA), National Signing Day was nothing more than a television obstruction that took airtime away from topics related to the hardwood. In fact, embracing recruiting news and storylines was one of the biggest sporting adjustments I’ve made in my year and a half in Iowa City. Still, it’s hard for me to jump for joy with players who all look bigger, faster and stronger than everyone else on their high school tapes. Lineman are supposed to maul people, running backs should be running away from people and defensive backs should be jumping routes and making tackles in space. That’s why they are D1 athletes! Forget the scouting grades, which is totally foreign to me. You’re telling me that there is a degree to which someone runs by everyone else? There is an extent to which a lineman clears out the crater-sized whole? Like any other Hawkeye fan, I’m curious to see what next season’s squad will look like. It does not need to be repeated that, especially defensively, there are big starting jobs that are up for grabs. Whether it is this incoming class or last years, whomever is willing to step into those roles and help Iowa win a Big Ten Championship, I’m all for it. While watching the various highlight tapes of the incoming Hawkeyes, there are some aspects of play that simply cannot be taught. Instinctiveness, vision and playmaking ability may be easier to come by in high school, but they are invaluable traits nonetheless. So is kicking a football. You may be shocked that my colleagues here at Dear Old Gold did not mention the two Iowa kicking recruits. The Hawkeyes graduated their starting kicker, Mike Meyer, and the question of whether or not Marshall Koehn will win the job remains to be seen. Additionally, while Connor Kornbrath will be in his junior season, it may be time for the team’s punter to be forced to earn his keep as the starter. Regardless, here are the two kicking recruits in Iowa’s 2014 Recruiting Class: Mick Ellis
- 5’10, 182 pounds out of Lovejoy High School in Allen, Texas.
- 28th at his position nationally, with a 75 recruiting grade, according to ESPN.com. (the top recruiting grade given was 78
Scouting Report: Ellis seems to be the lone kicking option in this class, with his counterpart with more of a punting background. For his career, Ellis was 20-27 in high school with a career long of 52 yards. Ellis has also connected on another from 50+ yards and a 49-yard field goal try, which were all during his junior season. Also with experience at kickoffs, Ellis possesses a compact motion with a short, deliberate kick leg that does not have a big follow through. He makes direct, solid contact with the football, which seems to explode off of his foot. With a full offseason within Iowa’s weight program, expect his lower body to improve and his skills to continue to rise. Dillon Kidd
- 6’1, 210 pound Junior College Transfer from El Camino College in Torrance, CA.
- Recruiting grade of 74, according to ESPN.com (there is no ranking system for punters).
Scouting Report: As mentioned prior, Kidd is the punting complement to Ellis’ kicking ability. San Jose State and Florida International were the two other schools he was considering, according to ESPN.com. Last Season at El Camino College, Kidd punted the ball 50 times, with a 38.2 yard average. His season long was a 58-yard punt. Of those kicks, 18 of them were downed inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, in addition to 12 fair catches that were induced from his leg. Without question, Kidd is significantly better at situational punting, specifically with intention of downing the ball inside the 20. He does not have a booming leg, and will need to quicken the amount of time getting the ball off, as indicated by both film and the fact that he had two blocked punts a season ago. Again, with a full season in Iowa’s strength and conditioning program, expect more power to come from Kidd’s right leg