Ross Pierschbacher grew up as an Iowa Hawkeye fan and wants nothing more right now than to honor his commitment to play football for the University of Iowa.
It’s the right now part that has some fans worried because Pierschbacher’s pledge to Iowa won’t become official until the star offensive lineman signs a national letter of intent in February of his senior year of high school, which is about 10 months from now.
Pierschbacher is fair game until then and the best of the best still are trying to get the Cedar Falls native to change his mind, with Alabama coach Nick Saban having offered Pierschbacher a scholarship Wednesday.
Pierschbacher understandably was proud and excited to be offered by a coach whose teams have won three of the last four national titles, including the last two in a row, and he let it be known Wednesday afternoon on Twitter.
“Just talked to Coach Saban, they have offered me a full-ride scholarship to play football for the Crimson Tide! #RollTide.
Pierschbacher’s excitement wasn’t shared by Iowa fans, which also is understandable, but only to a certain point.
“I got some nasty tweets towards me, but whatever,” Pierschbacher said to the Des Moines Register on Wednesday.
It’s one thing to be frustrated that Pierschbacher still is basking in the recruiting spotlight despite being committed to Iowa. But to rip him on Twitter is mean, spiteful and out of line. And it certainly doesn’t improve Iowa’s chance of landing him.
Those people need to relax and remember that Pierschbacher, despite standing 6-foot-4 and weighing 275 pounds, still is just a kid trying to make probably the biggest decision in his life up to this point. It’s easy for those not in his position to say that he should shut down the recruiting process and be like an old mule with blinders on with regard to his devotion to Iowa.
But on the other hand, Pierschbacher also has to realize that announcing his scholarship offers on Twitter is just asking for trouble, especially when they’re accompanied by a hashtag that says Roll Tide.
Some who lashed out at him probably are just kids, too. At least, let’s hope so because the thought of adults ripping a teenager for expressing his excitement on Twitter is sad and disturbing.
It’s not that Pierschbacher has cooled on Iowa. He’s just leaving the door open a crack in case something happens to where being a Hawkeye wouldn’t be in his best interest.
“I’m hoping nothing goes bad with Iowa’s season,” Pierschbacher said to the Register. “If something does, or if everything doesn’t fall their way, … there’s always a possibility there.”
The chance to play for Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz and to have Ferentz’s son, Brian Ferentz, as his position coach is Iowa’s big advantage, perhaps even more so than Pierschbacher’s homegrown roots. The Ferentz factor is the one thing no other school can match.
So as long as the Ferentzes stay put, it’s hard to see Pierschbacher going elsewhere barring a complete meltdown this coming fall.
Pierschbacher caused a similar reaction when he told HawkeyeInsider.com several weeks ago that he would consider visiting some other schools after the 2013 season if it turned into a repeat of last season when Iowa finished 4-8.
“I’m still comfortable, and I want to be a part of that, and there is nothing else in my mind,” Pierschbacher said of playing for Iowa. “I don’t think any more visits will happen.
“But if they have another 4-8 season or 5-7 or really don’t have a quality season, if there’s a place that I want to see and have the opportunity to go see, I may go check it out. I’m not trying to make anybody mad. It’s just going to be how I feel and where I’m at after the season.”
It’s not Pierschbacher’s fault that he is respected enough as a prospect and that Iowa is suspect enough as a program right now to create this unusual circumstance.
Some would argue that Pierschbacher should not have committed to Iowa if he wasn’t ready to fully honor the commitment.
It seems clear, though, that Pierschbacher wants to be a Hawkeye and to be coached by Kirk and Brian Ferentz.
Pierschbacher just wants some reassurance that Iowa is moving back in the right direction before he makes it official. He wants to play for a winner in college but is concerned that Iowa’s current skid could continue.
Kirk Ferentz probably doesn’t like that Pierschbacher still is being receptive to other schools and sharing his excitement on Twitter. But in this case, Ferentz doesn’t have enough leverage to force Pierschbacher’s hand.
Most recruits don’t have the power to take such a stand because they would fear having their scholarship pulled. Pierschbacher isn’t like most recruits, though, because he has all the leverage in this situation with his stock soaring and with Iowa’s stock falling.
He’s just asking for Iowa to avoid having another losing season. That’s not asking for too much.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football