Kirk Ferentz is starting his 14th season at Iowa. College football has changed plenty during the last decade-plus, and in no area more than recruiting.
Iowa already has six verbal commitments for the 2013 class. A year ago, they had just one by this date.
“I think it’s just a sign of the times,” Ferentz said. “I think it’s really heightened awareness. It’s not going to slow down for sure.”
Ferentz said the recruiting process keeps starting earlier and earlier. Iowa may want to wait and offer a high school junior until they can get to know them better, but at the speed recruiting moves, just can’t.
“You offer up a tape, you talk to people on the phone, coaches, people in the school, and you think you know, you hope you know,” Ferentz said. “But it’s not the same as getting to know.
“So we, like most people, have offered without really meeting a player, a prospect face to face, and that’s a little bit scary. It’s a little bit like mail-order recruiting.
“If you guys ever bought anything from a mail order or online, the box gets there, and you open it up, and it’s like, ‘Oh, I’m not sure’ … you can return that stuff. This is not quite the same.”
Ferentz has long been an advocate of an early signing period for football. Currently, football only has one signing day, the first Wednesday of February.
“I was thinking more so early December or mid-December,” Ferentz said. “It would be nice for prospects to sign at some early date and not have to worry about people knocking on their door in December and January.”
Extending the recruiting window also gives high school athletes a lot of time to look around and perhaps change their minds.
“Our definition of commit is they want to come here,” Ferentz said. “We’re not going to accept a commitment if they still want to date.”
GRADUATED SENIORS: Ferentz isn’t a fan of the NCAA rule that allows graduated seniors to transfer to another school.
Like quarterback Russell Wilson, who graduated from North Carolina State and then transferred to Wisconsin for one season.
“I’m not in favor of that rule,” Ferentz said. “I think it opens up a whole can of worms.”
But as long as the rule is in place, Ferentz said he’d use it if the circumstances were right.
“If we thought it would work,” Ferentz said. “If it fit in and not disrupted the chemistry of our football team.
“In fact, if you know of any running backs right now ….”
NIGHT MOVES: The Big Ten announced earlier in the day Tuesday that Iowa would play one night game this fall, the Oct. 20 home game against Penn State.
The game will have a 7 p.m. start and be shown on the Big Ten Network.
“I’m all for night games at home,” Ferentz said. “I’m all against them on the road, especially in the western time zones.”
Iowa is 6-2 in night games at Kinnick Stadium under Ferentz.
PRO COMBAT: Ferentz seemed to indicate that he might be softening his stance on having the Hawkeyes wear funky new threads on Saturday.
Iowa wore throwback uniforms several times and will again this fall against Iowa State. But Ferentz has resisted letting Nike put the Hawkeyes in Pro Combat uniforms like Oregon, Boise State, Michigan State and Ohio State used last season.
“I am open to something like that,” Ferentz said. “We may consider it moving forward.”
INJURY UPDATE: Ferentz confirmed that junior lineman Casey McMillan and redshirt freshman receiver John Chelf each had or are going to have knee surgery. Both are expected back in July.
But sophomore linebacker Shane DiBona’s career is over. He will take a medical redshirt, stay in school and finish his degree.
“We’re certainly sorry to make that announcement,” Ferentz said.
Ferentz said that defensive linemen Dominic Alvis and Carl Davis, who didn’t practice in the spring, could be ready the first week of June when the summer program begins.
Reach Ryan Suchomel at 339-7368 or firstname.lastname@example.org.