I don’t cover recruiting any more. Well, I still write and talk about it, but I don’t cover it the way that I once did. The main reason is that it wore me the hell out.
However, I have been paying close attention to Iowa football recruiting for over two decades now, longer if I think back to newsletters I used to subscribe to in the mid 1990’s.
Iowa received a verbal commitment from a four-star running back last night in the form of Jaziun Patterson. He is from Deerfield Beach, Florida. According to the Rivals.com database, he had offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and others.
He chose Iowa.
A highly coveted running back from the state of Florida with offers from the three Florida powerhouse institutions, chose Iowa. A highly coveted running back with an offer from Nick Saban chose Iowa.
That’s not to say that Iowa hasn’t received commitments from past prospects with a similar offer profile, but it’s been rare when a running back with such bonafides as Patterson has done that.
Which frankly has been puzzling to me through the years.
If Iowa isn’t O-Line U, it’s close. And great offensive lines are a running back’s best friends. So I have always been surprised that Iowa hasn’t consistently landed a higher caliber of running back than they have via recruiting. That’s not to say they haven’t had good running backs at Iowa; Akrum Wadley was the closest thing to Ronnie Harmon since Ronnie Harmon. Tyler Goodson looks like he could be a generational talent, too, and he chose Iowa over Michigan State, Nebraska, Kansas State, Colorado and the like. But he didn’t have one listed offer from an SEC school and he is from Georgia.
Let me introduce the caveat here that recruiting rankings and comparable offer lists aren’t EVERY THING….but there is a reason why in any given year, if you know nothing about the two deep roster of any team, you can probably predict about half of the preseason Top Ten, because the same teams get the best talent year after year.
If Patterson’s offer list is accurate, this isn’t the type of running back that makes his way to Iowa.
Kyshaun Bryan committed to Iowa in the Class of 2017, and was rated a three-star by Rivals.com. Their database shows he had offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Miami, LSU, Florida State and Florida, among others. He was also a Florida native. So Bryan was in the Patterson territory. Bryan was injured during his freshman year and wound up redshirting and was not invited to fall camp in 2018, and wound up transferring to Coffeyville Juco and that is where his trail turns cold.
The last four-star running back commit for Iowa was in 2012 with Greg Garmon. He had offers from Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and others. But he too transferred from Iowa after playing a bit as as freshman. He didn’t play at the Power 5 level after leaving, with he and his father saying Iowa was not a good fit for Greg at the time of his transfer.
Before Garmon, the next four-star running back was Brandon Wegher, who (along with Jordan Canzeri) had the best RB highlight film of any Iowa RB commit in my time watching such things. Wegher was one of those guys whose film did not lie and he was headed for a star-studded career at Iowa after a breakout freshman year, but academics became a problem. He wound up having a cup of coffee in The League.
Then we go back to the Class of 2005 with Kalvin Bailey, who was a four-star commit at running back for Iowa. But he was a bit of a bigger back, 5-11/245 and was likely headed for a fullback role at Iowa before his redshirt year and then transfer. He had a ton of blue blood offers and was also from Florida.
By the way, Shonn Greene was originally a member of the 2004 Iowa class but he had to go the prep school route and the rest is history. He was a three-star prospect out of high school with a handful of offers, including Wisconsin.
Which takes us to the first (and for this exercise, last) four-star running back commit of the Ferentz era, Albert Young. Young was a freak and were it not for injuries, he had an NFL career ahead of him as he was adept at receiving as well as running. It was Iowa vs Wisconsin for Young’s services.
So there you have it. Patterson is a bit of a unicorn relative to Iowa running back recruiting during the Ferentz era. While his illustrious offer list doesn’t assure anything, you can see how rare it has been for Iowa to get a verbal commitment from a player that has attracted that much recruiting attention at running back. He’s just the fourth, four-star running back commit of the Ferentz era, or maybe just the third as Bailey was targeted as a fullback in the mode of superback Jeremy Allen from the early years of the Ferentz era.
(NOTE: Data compiled from the Rivals.com recruiting database, which dates back to 2002)