The Iowa Hawkeyes 2020 recruiting class is ranked 34th nationally and 8th in the Big Ten.
National Signing Day is officially behind us and the Iowa football recruiting class is officially filled out. As far as Iowa football goes, recruiting is near the bottom of my concerns. Sure there are always guys like AJ Epenesa who are absolute studs from the day they walk on campus and yes they are nice but I’ve learned to just trust that Doyle and his staff will turn these undersized highschoolers into beasts of the Big Ten.
Iowa has received massive contributions from walk-ons, 3 stars, and 5 stars before and I’m sure it will happen again. In my biased opinion the Iowa strength program is the best in the country and the position coaches have shown the ability to turn coal into diamonds. The best players of the 2020 class could be a walk-on, you just never know at Iowa. But, that being said there’s a ton of potential stars on this list.
Coy Cronk (OT ; Indiana)
Listed at 6-5, 321 lbs
Iowa fans can’t ask for much more than this, before Cronk’s ankle injury his senior year he was on the Outland Trophy watchlist. Cronk started 40 games at Indiana and as a freshman he was on the Big Ten all-freshman team, even if Cronk doesn’t find his way into the starting lineup, depth is important as we saw with Alaric Jackson being injured last year. Above all else, an experienced tackle helps the Hawkeyes fill the void of losing future first-rounder Tristan Wirfs.
SWARM 2020 RECRUITS:
Logan Jones (4★ DT ; Council Bluffs, Iowa)
Listed at 6-3, 255 lbs
Jones is a tad small for a Big Ten defensive tackle right now but I’m sure a summer working with Doyle should fix that right up. Jones still has a solid chance to contribute in his freshman year with Iowa losing three starting defensive linemen but he will need to get bigger, stronger, and faster. Jones finished his senior season with 30 tackles including 14 for loss. Jones is an athlete and played basketball in high school while winning the state shot put and discus last track season.
Duece Hogan (4★ QB; Grapevine, Texas)
Listed at 6-4, 200
Kid hasn’t played a snap in an Iowa uniform and likely won’t for a few years…but I LOVE THIS GUY. Seems like a Hawk through and through, analysts rave about his leadership abilities and he is the 15th ranked QB in his the class. Petras is a heavy favorite to be the starter next year but I think just having Duece around the team will make an impact. Finished up his career with a solid senior year including 2200+ yards and 30 touchdowns to only 6 interceptions.
Deonte Craig (4★ DE; Culver, Indiana)
Listed at 6-3, 240 lbs
Craig was a four-year letter earner in football while earning all-state honors his senior year, finishing with 63 tackles, 22.5 for loss and contributing 7 sacks. Craig is a basketball player, athletic and very quick for a highschooler of his size. Look at the first play of his huddle highlight listed above, absolutely incredible speed and pursuit to the ball. Again, with Iowa losing three starting defensive linemen Craig has a chance to see time his freshman year but wouldn’t be surprised to see him take a red-shirt growth year either.
Tyler Elsbury (4★ OG; Byron, Illinois)
Listed at 6-5, 290 lbs
Just a big guy who can move and seems to me that he is athletic enough to play any position on the line. Highschool competition was very poor and Eslbury handled it by being all-state his junior and senior year. He’s a wrestler which I always make note of especially in an offensive lineman (see Tristan Wirfs). Elsbury will likely redshirt his freshman year and take a year to fill out but should be a solid offensive lineman throughout his career.
Leshon Williams (4★ RB; Oak Lawn, Illinois)
Listed at 5-10, 208 lbs
What a junior season Leshon Williams had finished with 2000+ yards and 26(!) touchdowns in his junior season. His senior season was plagued with an ankle injury, but he finished the season with 1000 yards on 121 carries while adding 10 touchdowns. His film looked really good with quick bursts to the hole and running really physical. I think come his junior and senior year he will be the main back.
Luke Lachey (3★ TE; Colombus, Ohio)
Listed at 6-6, 220 lbs
Lachey looks more like a wide receiver but it’s incredible how good he looks in those highlights. He’ll definitely need to add on weight and improve his blocking at Iowa but that shouldn’t be a problem if history can repeat itself. It also doesn’t hurt that his dad was a first-round pick and a 3-time all-pro as an offensive tackle, maybe the most excited I’ve been about a recruit in a long time. Lachey may redshirt, but watch out for him if he can add twenty pounds of muscle and learn how to block. Can he be the next great Iowa tight end?
Gavin Williams (3★ RB; West Des Moines, Iowa)
Listed at 6-0, 195 lbs
Whew, can this guy run or what? First-team all-state in Iowa his senior year finishing with 1,263 yards an eighteen touchdowns. Williams was first-team all-district and all-conference all four seasons of his high school career while playing in the most competitive part of the state. Probably gonna be a redshirt, but coming into last season I would have said the same thing about Tyler Goodson and we all know how that went.
Side note: His highschool team’s colors are black and gold and it was a beautiful sight that I can not wait to see more of.
Elijah Yelverton (3★ TE; Cedar Hill, Texas)
Listed at 6-4, 225 lbs
Similar to Lachey, Elijah Yelverton was split outside a lot during his high school career and will need to pack on weight (and learn to block) in order to be a successful Iowa tight end at the next level. Yelverton enrolled early so he will have plenty of time to grow and learn the system before being tossed in the fire. Yelverton was an Under Armour All-American and finished his senior year with 62-594-9.
Josh Volk (3★ OG, Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Listed at 6-4, 305 lbs
Volk is a UNIT. Already being 305 pounds and still moving that quickly is impressive. This is one of the true freshmen who could see time their first year simply based on his size. Volk was first-team all-state in Iowa Class 3A both his junior and senior season and is ranked 14th in his class as an offensive guard according to 24/7 Sports.
Mason Richman (3★ OT; Stillwater, Kansas)
Listed at 6-6, 252 lbs
Richman is almost a sure redshirt if he is going to play on the line coming in at only 252 lbs, he was a key two-way player finishing as a finalist in Kansas 6A Defensive Player of the Year. Was first-team all-state as a senior.
Yahya Black (3★ ATH; Marshall, Minnesota)
Listed at 6-6, 250 lbs
24/7 has him listed as an athlete but it’s almost a lock that he slides onto the defensive line, probably at tackle if he can add some mass. Black was district Defensive Lineman of the Year as a junior and district Defensive Player of the Year his senior year. He broke the school record in career sacks with 17.5. Black also lettered three times in basketball and four times in track.
Ethan Hurkett (3★ ILB; Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Listed at 6-3, 230 lbs
Another homegrown, hard-nosed inside linebacker. Hurkett had a great career at Cedar Rapids Xavier winning two state championships while anchoring their defense, finishing his career first-team all-state with 53.5 tackles, 14.5 TFL and coming up with an interception and a fumble recovery. I’m excited about this guy, I love Iowa’s history of recruiting hard-working instate linebackers (Pat Angerer, Josie Jewell, Dillion Doyle this year) and this should be no different. Hurkett is big and could move onto the defensive line if the Iowa coaches decide he can add enough muscle throughout his career to justify the switch.
Reggie Bracy (3★ Safety; Mobile, Alabama)
Listed at 6-0, 190 lbs
Not often we pull a recruit out of SEC country but here we are… Bracy is fast to the ball and it shows leading the team his senior year in tackling with 89 from the safety position. Bracy was solid in coverage with seven pass break-ups and an INT. Played running back in high school. Not afraid of contact and his film full of hard hits and open-field tackles has me excited.
Isiah Bruce (3★ Defensive Tackle; Lena, Illinois)
Listed at 6-2, 270 lbs
Okay side note here… Bruce played running back in highschool. Can you imagine being a sophomore in highschool stepping in for an injured senior in your first-ever varsity action and coming to fill the hole and see a 6-2, 270 pound MAN coming at you? What a cheat code! Anyway, Bruce will play on the defensive line at Iowa but that athletism isn’t going to disappear and he finished first-team all-state at running back and defensive end both his senior and junior year. On the defensive side of the ball, he finished with 38 tackles, 16 for loss.
Diante Vines (3★ WR; Watertown, Connecticut)
Listed at 5-11, 189 lbs
A jack of all trades in high school, Vines played wide receiver, corner, and quarterback in his senior season, he also returned kicks. Vines holds the school record in receptions, yards and touchdowns and his senior year caught 48 balls and eight touchdowns while adding 3 touchdowns rushing, a kickoff touchdown, and 2 defensive touchdowns. I see him slotting into a role similar to Ihmir when he leaves and am I excited for that, nearly his entire highlight film is 9-routes so will likely need to improve his route running on campus but the athletism is there.
AJ Lawson (3★ CB, Decatur, Illinois)
Listed at 6-1, 177 lbs
Similar size to Matt Hankins but looks like he might be a step or two faster. He also placed at state in the high jumps and looks to have some crazy athletism in his film. He scored three touchdowns on defense in his career with 7 interceptions. Looks like he could be a force if he can get a little stronger and again with Doyle, I’m sure he will.
Lukas Van Ness (3★ DE, Barrington, Illinois)
Listed at 6-5, 240 lbs
6-5, 240 with long arms, the ability to move and agile,oh my is he gonna be an animal in three years or what? He had 67 tackles as a defense end. That is amazing. I’m sure once that frame fills out he will be an absolute animal on the defensive line and I can’t wait for it. Got just about every possible honor as a defensive player including first-team all-state and conference defensive player of the year.
Jay Higgins (3★ LB; Indianapolis, Indiana)
Listed at 6-2, 215 lbs
Higgins has a nose for the ball to put it simply. He finished top 10 nationally in tackles as a senior and finished his career with 471 career tackles to break the school record. Not only is Higgins a sure tackler, he is a punishing tackler and I mean he hits people hard. He is fast, he is strong and he plays the game physically. Can’t wait to see him in action.
Quavon Matthews (3★ WR; Largo, Florida)
Listed at 5-11, 165 lbs
Fast. Physical. Soft hands. Matthews is also very agile in the open field and can make huge plays as you can see with his punt/kick returns on film. Matthews missed his entire junior season with an injury and only caught 22 balls his senior season but should be an electric addition and help fill the void after Brandon Smith and Ihmir graduate.
Brenden Deasfernandes (3★ CB; Belleville, Michigan)
Listed at 6-1, 160 lbs
Very undersized as of now and will need to add on a lot of muscle but has a really good eye for the ball. His game sense and football IQ is clearly very high and it makes up for his size. Deasfernades broke up nine passes and finishes with one interception his senior year earning him Division 1 first-team all-state in Michigan.