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Cedar Falls athlete impresses UI coaches

[ 1 ] June 20, 2012 |

Even in this age when it seems there are recruiting analysts everywhere you turn, some kids still fly under the radar and never get noticed.

Ike Boettger was in danger of being one of those kids until he apparently put on quite a show for the Iowa coaches at camp Friday.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pound Boettger listened to some simple advice given by Pat Mitchell, his co-coach at Cedar Falls High School, and then went out and earned himself a scholarship.

“They were very complimentary of everything I was doing,” Boettger said of the Iowa coaches. “Coach Mitchell just told me to go as hard as I could and that’s what I did.”

It took more than just effort, though.

Boettger even without playing in pads showed enough ability at the camp to convince Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz that he was worthy of a scholarship offer, which came Tuesday.

And it’s not as if Ferentz hands out scholarships like candy on Halloween. You can almost be certain that other recruits left the Iowa camp last week without scholarship offers.

Being offered this soon, shows that Boettger made quite an impression because Ferentz could’ve easily waited.

Other than a few inquiries from Iowa State and Michigan State, Boettger was a non-factor in the BCS recruiting process. He didn’t even know if he would play football in college, but now it’s hard to turn down that opportunity when your home-state school is willing to pay for the experience.

“I was very surprised about it, very surprised,” Boettger said of being offered by Iowa.

Mitchell, on the other hand, wasn’t as much surprised by the offer as he was relieved. He felt that Boettger had the physical skills to play big-time college football, but that he might fall through one of the few cracks that still exist in today’s recruiting landscape.

“From a high school coach’s perspective, you have a really good athlete and a really good player who has all the things you look for, but not much is happening and then all the sudden, bang, it’s like it was a really good present,” Mitchell said. “I’m delighted. I hate to have anyone get overlooked, especially a real good person and player.”

Boettger said the Iowa coaches project him as a tight end even though he hasn’t played that position since his freshman year.

He played quarterback as a junior last season for Cedar Falls, but his role was limited mostly to handing off to all-state running back Barkley Hill, who will join the Iowa team as a freshman this fall.

Mitchell now isn’t sure how he’ll use Boettger without Hill in the backfield and knowing that Ferentz likes Boettger enough to recruit him as a tight end.

“That’s a good question,” Mitchell said. “We’re going to have some interesting staff meetings on that one.

“You always want to have a 6-5, 215-pound quarterback who can run and throw.”

Boettger is well aware of Iowa’s track record for developing star tight ends. He admires Dallas Clark and how he came to Iowa as a walk-on linebacker and then left in 2002 as one of the top tight ends in school history. Clark has been playing in the NFL ever since.

“Dallas Clark is a great example,” Boettger said. “They always talk about him and a couple other tight ends that they moved from other positions and then developed them very nicely.”

Despite his fondness for Iowa football, Boettger resisted committing on the spot because he wants see the Iowa campus with his parents before making a decision.

“It is the next four or five years of my life so I do need to think it all over,” Boettger said.

What’ll be interesting now is if other BCS schools take a closer look at Boettger in response to Iowa’s offer.

Combine Boettger’s size with his speed — he reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in about 4.7 seconds — and with the endorsement from the Iowa coaches and you have an intriguing prospect.

BUSY TIME: Boettger’s scholarship offer was the latest development in what has been a busy week in recruiting for the Iowa football coaches.

It started with Minnesota high school defensive back Malik Rucker committing to Iowa on Friday. High school receiver Mycial Allen also committed to Iowa a few days later, but the Detroit native then told HawkeyeInsider.com that the Iowa coaches want him to hold off on committing until he visits the Iowa campus in late July.

The father of Iowa four-star recruit David Kenney also was hired this week by Indiana football coach Kevin Wilson as a quality control assistant for recruiting.

David Kenney Sr. told HawkeyeInsider.com that he didn’t think his hiring would affect his son’s commitment to Iowa.

There could be another development this week if Des Moines Lincoln linebacker Trevon Young commits to Iowa. The senior-to-be is expected Friday in Iowa City and is deciding between Iowa and Iowa State.

And finally, one of the biggest recruits on Iowa’s radar, figuratively and literally, will be in town this weekend to get a closer look at the Iowa program.

Offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr. confirmed through a text message that he will take an unofficial visit Friday and Saturday to Iowa City. The 6-9, 376-pound Brown, who now lives in Duluth, Ga., is considered one of the top recruits in the 2014 high school senior class.

Ferentz was Brown’s late father’s offensive line coach in the NFL.

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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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