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Iowa Football Updates from Dec 2002

Iowa Football Updates from Dec 2002

12/22/2002 by Jon Miller of Voice of the Hawkeyes


We all know that Iowa will be playing against Southern California in the Orange Bowl on January 2nd in Miami.

The publicity that this game has been getting from the national media talking heads has been off the hook, and when you combine the national interest in this game with the glut of national honors that several Iowa players and coaches have received in November and December, and you have the most national media attention that any Iowa Hawkeye athletic program has ever enjoyed.

There may also be another benefit from the periphery of the Orange Bowl appearance, though it might be another year before that added bonus becomes clear.

12 Florida natives dot the 2002 Iowa football roster and one can safely say that without the presence of those sunshine state natives, Iowa would not be in the upper echelon of college football that it is right now.

Brad Banks, CJ Jones, Mo Brown, Fred Barr, Colin Cole and Antwan Allen each played critical roles for Iowa on the field this year as starters on either offense or defense.

Abdul Hodge played a key role on special teams this year and is the heir apparent to replace Barr at middle linebacker next season. Redshirt Freshman Fabian Dodd will be in the mix along the defensive line next season while Marcus Paschal, Larry Thomas and Edmund Miles redshirted this year and should at least add to Iowa’s special teams effort in 2003. George Lewis was having a fine season on special teams before falling to a season ending injury early in the year.

Six of those players are from Ft. Lauderdale which is just north of Miami and Thomas is a Miami native. So the Orange Bowl will be a homecoming of sorts for several Hawkeyes.

The local press in Florida will be writing articles on the impact that Sunshine State players have had at Iowa and current high school players will be ‘reading all about it’.

Some Iowa fans have felt that the Orange Bowl appearance might be a boon to the 2003 recruiting efforts, but Kirk Ferentz has recently stated that he feels the bigger impact on Florida preps might come in the 2004 class.

There is an old adage in football recruiting that the recruiting harvest from a breakout season like the one Iowa had in 2002 won’t be fully reaped until the following year.

And why is that?

Recruiting is all about relationships. Those relationships with current high school juniors begin to take form during the course of the next four or five months. It’s hard to get involved with players who might not have shown much interest in you until three or four months prior to signing day, which is typically the first Wednesday in February.

Many of those players have been courted by colleges since last December through May.

There is another factor that plays into Iowa’s recruiting efforts in Florida this year, and that is strictly a strategic numbers game.

Iowa has strong relationships with high school coaches in the Ft. Lauderdale area, but this year, Iowa didn’t identity a lot of players as priorities from that area. That should come as no surprise, as that can fluctuate year to year due to positional needs and the number of high D1 prospects in an area.

For example, the 2002 recruiting crop from the state of Illinois was not a ‘great haul’ in the historical sense for the Land of Lincoln. Some recruiting analysts felt that there were no more than 25 to 30 high D1 prospects in the Chicagoland area last year. Iowa did not land one recruit from Illinois, a state that has been a traditional hotbed for Iowa recruiting.

Iowa also has strong recruiting relationships in and around the Tampa Bay area and one of those relationships did pay dividends this past week, as 6-foot-1, 210-pound strong safety/linebacker Chris Brevi of Seffner (Armwood High School) verbally committed to Iowa. He had scholarship offers from Pittsburgh, Memphis and Central Florida.

That is the same school that produced current Hawkeye cornerback Antwan Allen, and Marcus Paschal is from Largo, also in the Tampa Bay area.

When I spoke with Armwood head coach Sean Callahan earlier in the month, he illustrated how important those recruiting relationships are.

“I called up Phil Parker in August, when he moved into our school,” Callahan said when asked how Iowa got interested in Brevi. “Once I got a chance to work with him and saw what he was capable of doing, I called Phil because Antwan Allen is one of our guys and Phil works well with me.”

All of this is not to say that Iowa is giving up on Florida recruiting this season.

Standout running back Brian Dennison of Jacksonville, Florida has scheduled a January 17th visit to Iowa. rates him as one of the Top 15 running backs in America. He is 5-feet-11 and 195-pounds and has run the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds.

Defensive tackle Teraz McCray of Pompano Beach visited Iowa just before Thanksgiving and has the Hawkeyes high on his list. Bradenton safety Mike Jenkins has Iowa in his top three along with Nebraska and Clemson and plans to visit Iowa City in January.

But make no mistake, Iowa assistant coaches Phil Parker and Darrell Wilson (who are responsible for recruiting in Florida) are not taking a break. The Iowa staff already has an eye on the Sunshine State for next season and the critical relationships that have been in place for the last several years and the amazing amount of media exposure that Iowa will received in critical recruiting hotbeds in the state of Florida will present great opportunities for Iowa down the road.


Chris Leak will be a name that is remembered for a long time by those who follow Iowa football recruiting.

Leak told me in early November that he would be visiting Iowa on December 6th. That was huge news as Leak is considered one of the premier quarterbacks in the nation.

Leak passed for more than 15,000 yards during his high school career and he threw for 185 touchdown passes, which is a national record.

But bad weather in the Charlotte, North Carolina area upset Leak’s high school playoff schedule and he was unable to make his scheduled visit to Iowa.

People began to wonder if Leak would reschedule his visit.

Things looked bleak on the Leak front last week when Iowa tried to fly him in for a one day visit last Wednesday, but that just wouldn’t fit.

But Iowa was able to get Chris on campus this past Saturday by way of a private jet.

Leak arrived in Iowa City just before 8:00pm and spent some time with Iowa quarterback Brad Banks. He was also able to take in Iowa’s Sunday practice, the last practice before team members returned home for the holidays.

Leak was flown back home late Sunday night.

This was the final recruiting visit for Leak who had already taken official trips to Florida, Florida State, USC and Texas.

Leak will announce his college choice live on national television on January 5th during halftime of the US Army All American game.


Junior College defensive back Corey Reddick verbally committed to Iowa earlier in the month and said as late as last week that he was not going to visit Kansas State and that his commitment to Iowa was solid.

December 18th was the day that Juco recruits could sign with colleges and everyone expected to see Reddick sign with Iowa. But he ended up signing with Kansas State.

Iowa has 14 known verbal commitments at this time and Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said on his weekly ‘Hawk Talk’ radio show that Iowa would likely end up with 22 to 25 recruits in the 2003 class.

Voice of the HawkeyesVoice of the Hawkeyes (VOTH) was the long-time publication released 2-4 times per month, starting in 1987. It is now owned and operated by Landmark Media Enterprises, and is affiliated with the network. You can visit them at

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Iowa Football Updates from Dec 2002 - Summary of Iowa football and basketball games