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Daumantas Venckus makes verbal commitment to Iowa football

[ 0 ] November 16, 2011 |

The Iowa football team now has at least 12 verbal commitments in its 2012 recruiting class.

And based on what Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters Tuesday, the class could be more than half full.

Ferentz said he expected to sign about 18 to 20 players in the 2012 class.

“That’s a rough number, but that’s what I would expect,” Ferentz said.

Iowa has received a verbal commitment from a high school senior from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., in each of the past two days.

Daumantas Venckus, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound defensive end, made a verbal commitment Wednesday to Iowa.

He also had offers from Navy and Colorado State and was hearing from Maryland.

His decision came a day after receiver Greg Mabin of Fort Lauderdale committed to Iowa. The 6-2, 190-pound Mabin also had a scholarship offer from Middle Tennessee State but was mostly overlooked by BCS schools.

“I’ve been overlooked during this whole recruiting process, I think,” Mabin told HawkeyeInsider.com. “Everyone I talk to says I should have more offers than I do right now.

“I feel like I have a lot to prove. I feel like a lot of people are doubting me.”

Iowa, which plays Saturday at Purdue, hasn’t received a commitment from a quarterback in the 2012 class and Ferentz isn’t sure if it’ll happen.

The national signing period for football will start Feb. 1, 2012.

The Iowa coaches made an effort to recruit some of the top high school quarterbacks in the country only to come up short.

“Yeah, hopefully, but you never know,” Ferentz said when asked about adding a quarterback to the 2012 class. “We’re still looking around.”

Ferentz said he isn’t sure at this stage if the decision to move redshirt freshman A.J. Derby from quarterback to linebacker a little more than a month ago will change the thinking with regard to recruiting a quarterback for the 2012 class.

“Possibly, but not necessarily,” Ferentz said. “It’s a discussion.

“Like a lot of positions, it depends on who’s out there and who’s interested. We still want to get the best guys, too, to help our team.”

Ferentz rarely recruits junior college players, but Iowa reportedly has been in contact with two prospects from the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, Calif. They are Jake Sheffield, a 6-foot-4, 280-pound sophomore defensive end from Aurora, Colo., and Robert Caldwell, a 6-3, 248-pound sophomore linebacker from Twentynine Palms, Calif.

Demond Littles, who is an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the College of the Desert football team, said Wednesday that neither Sheffield nor Caldwell had an Iowa offer, but there still was mutual interest.

Littles said Caldwell recently learned from the NCAA Clearinghouse that he would have to wait until May to graduate from junior college instead of at mid-year, which would have allowed Caldwell to transfer to a Division I school for the 2012 spring semester.

“To my knowledge, they are still interested,” Littles said of the Iowa coaches, who are prohibited from talking about a specific recruit before the recruit has signed a letter of intent. “But there are many people that have jumped on the ship now.

“Robert Caldwell just got offered by South Florida, and he’s going to get an offer from Kentucky, and by the end of the week he’s going to have an offer from Baylor and a couple other schools in the (SEC).”

Littles said Sheffield, who once was committed to Arizona State, has received a scholarship offer from Colorado and also is hearing from Florida State and Indiana. Sheffield is 23 years old and a former Marine who served two tours in Iraq.

Sheffield and Caldwell made first-team all-conference in the 2011 Southern California Football Association Central Division, with Caldwell a unanimous selection.

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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