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Early commitments just sign of the times

[ 0 ] June 30, 2012 |

The high number of early recruits is just a sign of the times — and a sign that the Hawkeyes are doing what it takes to keep up in the Big Ten.

As the calendar turns to July, Iowa has 15 verbal commitments compared to six at the same time a year ago.

“We’re a little more aggressive perhaps, but not dramatically,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “I think it’s really more a reflection of what is going on nationally.

“I haven’t seen the numbers, but my guess is things are moving faster.”

Barring any late verbals Saturday, Michigan has 22 commitments, per Scout.com.

Most of the Big Ten has put together a list of at least 10 recruits: Illinois 15, Ohio State 14, Penn State 14, Nebraska 11, Northwestern 11, Michigan State 10 and Wisconsin 10.

Minnesota and Purdue each have four recruits and Indiana one. With the exception of a transitioning Buckeye squad, those three were the only Big Ten teams to finish with losing records.

“We are really excited about the way things are going right now, the group that has committed,” Ferentz said. “But it is a long race to run.”

Ferentz said they had a record number of recruits visit during spring practice this year. In the past, most of those players would come in June.

Ferentz for year has been a proponent of an early signing period for football and is waiting for the NCAA to catch up to the changing times.

“Some of those rules are going to have to shift,” Ferentz said. “Right now, for us to have 56 official visits next recruiting season … that’s a nice thought. I don’t know who we’d bring in to fill those 56 slots.”

Iowa still has players to add to the 2013 recruiting class. It also has to make sure those who have committed remain committed.

“Verbal commitments are verbal commitments,” Ferentz said. “That being said, I don’t know what our percentage would be compared to others; it seems like the people that declare here are pretty good about (staying). It’s not uncommon to have a surprise.”

Those who have committed are still recruited up until signing day on Feb. 6, 2013.

ZACH DERBY ON A.J.: Senior tight end Zach Derby said Wednesday he was surprised by his brother A.J.’s decision to transfer to Coffeyville Community College.

“It caught me off guard a little bit right away,” Zach Derby said. “He thought it was best for him.

“I supported my brother and wish him the best of luck next year.”

A.J. transferred in hopes of playing quarterback. He had been moved to linebacker last fall at Iowa.

“He’s enjoying playing quarterback,” Zach Derby said. “I think he’s excited about the opportunity he has.”

Zach Derby started five games at tight end last season, but the buzz in the spring surrounded junior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz and some of the younger players at the position.

“I’ve seen them make real big strides and run better routes,” Zach Derby said. “They have all done well to get better.”

Zach Derby, who had 12 catches for 117 yards, plans to remain in the mix.

BEATING THE HEAT: With temperatures reaching triple digits, it is an opportune time for Iowa to have a new indoor practice facility.

The Bubble was known to get a little toasty.

“State-of-the-art stuff,” junior Dominic Alvis said of the new facility. “And it’s a heck of a lot cooler there than working out in the Bubble.”

“It was not a lot of fun in the summer months,” Ferentz said. “We had that bad fortune a couple times.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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