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10 @ 10: Pinstripes and recruiting tidbits

December 21, 2017 GMT

The search for a quarterback to sign and other recruiting tidbits as well as the start of game-week preparations fill today’s Hawkeye 10@10.

Your daily dose of Iowa news and notes is delivered daily at 10 a.m. at Hawkmania.com, your home for all things Iowa.

Here is today’s Hawkeye 10@10:

1. Iowa found the quarterback it was looking for in its 2018 recruiting class, but it wasn’t easy.

One-time Oregon State commitment Spencer Petras, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound California native, fits the bill of what the Hawkeyes search for in a quarterback.

He’s a strong-armed, pro-style quarterback with a track record of success.

“I frankly was getting a little worried about (finding the right quarterback),’’ Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Every quarterback Ken (O’Keefe, the Iowa quarterbacks coach) has seen since May or late April, he was always finding something wrong with them. I was starting to wonder if there was anybody out there who maybe would fit with us. I say that half in jest. Some of the guys we really liked have committed to other places. It’s been a long, winding road.’’

Petras threw for 4,157 yards and 50 touchdowns this season, setting Marin Catholic school records held by Rams quarterback Jared Goff.

He selected Iowa following a short, delayed on-campus visit earlier this month.

“We just felt really good about the way he projected with us. Fortunately for us, mom and dad and Spencer were comfortable with what they saw here, what they learned.’’

2. Looking for a signee who could be tagged the most likely to see playing time in 2018?

Look no further than Council Bluffs and Iowa Western where defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon spent the past season.

The Kenosha, Wisconsin, native originally signed with Iowa last year, but had to shore up some academics this fall before qualifying academically to compete for the Hawkeyes.

He was eventually determined to be a full qualifier, a guarantee that wasn’t there heading into fall camp, but Iowa stuck with him and Nixon stuck with the Hawkeyes even though Alabama offered him a scholarship during his juco season.

Coach Kirk Ferentz credited his staff with providing Nixon with a path to make it all work out and then maintaining contact with Nixon throughout the past few months.

He believes the experience Nixon received will position him to be part of the rotation of players Iowa uses on its defensive front.

“We want to do that, rotate players up front, and for him to get into the rotation, that’s realistic,’’ Ferentz said. “We’re hoping that does happen.’’

3. Boston College and only Boston College are on the agenda beginning today for Iowa as it shifts into game-week preparations for the Pinstripe Bowl.

After a whirlwind December, coach Kirk Ferentz is looking forward to that.

“It will be good to shift gears, really get into a game week focus,’’ he said.

In addition to bowl preparations, Iowa coaches have dealt with recruiting, the early-signing period and the future this month.

Iowa hosted 25 prospects it is recruiting for its 2019 recruiting class at a practice on Sunday.

“It never stops,’’ Ferentz said.

4. When you break down the high school players Iowa currently has commitments and signed letters of intent from, this is one of the Hawkeyes’ more highly-rated recruiting classes.

Rivals.com ranks Iowa’s class as the 39th best in the country at this point.

Four recruits rated by the organization as four-star prospects are currently on the list. Three, defensive lineman John Waggoner, defensive back Dallas Craddieth and quarterback Spencer Petras, signed Wednesday.

The fourth, defensive back Julius Brents, is committed but has yet to sign with Iowa.

5. How good has Noah Fant been this season?

The sophomore tight end has caught 28 passes this year for Iowa, including a team-leading 10 touchdown receptions.

His total number of touchdown catches is a single-season record for an Iowa tight end.

Fant also leads all tight ends in the Football Bowl Subdivision with an average of 17.4 yards per catch.

6. Iowa announced the signing of 15 players on Wednesday, but the early-signing period in football runs through Friday and the Hawkeyes continue to anticipate receiving letters of intent from Julius Brents, D.J. Johnson and Calvin Lockett.

Coach Kirk Ferentz said during his news conference yesterday that he anticipates that Iowa will sign 16-18 players now with its total 2018 recruiting class landing in the range of 20-22 players.

7. Coach Kirk Ferentz said Iowa’s remaining scholarship offers before the Feb. 7 signing date will be more position specific.

He’s curious to see how the pool of remaining talent shakes out after this week’s first-ever early-signing period is concluded.

“We’ve done pretty well late in the past. Micah (Hyde), Desmond King, are a couple of names that have already come up. (James) Daniels, Josey Jewell. Are those guys still going to be in that pool? That’s a big question right now,’’ Ferentz said.

“That’s why some of my peers are squawking, because they want to snag guys out of our pool. That happened last week (when tight end prospect Ben VanSumeren flipped from Iowa to Michigan), we had a guy jump to another school.’’

Like his peers, Ferentz is anxious to survey the landscape after this week.

“I don’t know what it’s going to look like. I’m really curious,’’ he said. “I do know this. Guys are out there. There is no doubt in my mind that guys are out there. We have to be really methodical and find the right ones.’’

8. Recruiting is a collaborative endeavor and coach Kirk Ferentz took time Wednesday to praise the work of the Hawkeye staff and the help it receives from others on campus as recruits visit throughout the year.

All work to develop the relationships which lead to successful recruiting. Iowa is big on wanting to get families on campus, not just recruits, and that involves coordination with and cooperation from a lot of academic officials to meet with and talk with prospects.

“I think our recruiting department has done a really nice job of setting up visits in the June, July period, more so June, and even in-season, where we are getting prospects here, getting to know them and they’re getting to know us a little better,’’ Ferentz said. “It’s not just the computer dating world or catalog shopping, all that.’’

9. The generations-old hatred between fans of the Red Sox and Yankees came up during a news conference earlier this week with Boston College players.

Cornerback Isaac Yiadom is walking a neutral tightrope.

“I mean, I’m not really a Red Sox fan or a Yankees fan,’’ Yiadom said. “I’m not really into baseball. I haven’t been to one baseball game in my life. But at the same time I played in Yankee Stadium one time in my freshman year (in the 2004 Pinstripe Bowl against Penn State). It’s a great place to play. Anytime we play at Fenway or Yankee Stadium, the feeling of being on a baseball field is different.’’

10. Remember all of those nice, warm pregames earlier this season?

Forget about ’em.

It’s going to be a chilly tailgate outside of Yankee Stadium next Wednesday.

The current National Weather Service forecast for the Bronx calls for partly sunny skies and a high temperature of 29 degrees on game day.