Iowa does have a reputation for producing NFL-ready offensive linemen, but don’t discount the work Kirk Ferentz and his staff have done with tight ends.
During Ferentz’s tenure, Iowa has put eight tight ends in the NFL in some way, shape or form. This year, Tony Moeaki was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. During Ferentz’s first season, 1999, Zeron Flemister and Austin Wheatley made it into the league.
In between, there’s been all-pro Dallas Clark.
Ray Hamilton liked the sound of that. So, the Strongsville, Ohio, prep committed to play tight end for the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.
Hamilton was the first of three commitments Wednesday for the Hawkeyes. Iowa also picked up a commitment from defensive end John Raymon, a 6-5, 240-pounder from Council Rock (Penn.) North School.
“I think I’ve heard all the way to 12 (tight ends from Iowa in the NFL),” said Hamilton, a 6-5, 225-pounder. “I don’t know the exact number, but I know they’ve put a lot of tight ends in the NFL.”
In six games last season, Hamilton caught six passes for 300 yards. He missed a stretch of games after having a torn meniscus repaired in his knee. Hamilton missed some time in basketball, too, with an elbow injury. He said he’s good to go now.
“I played week one of football with torn meniscus in my knee,” Hamilton said. “I had it fixed was out until week five or six. Just had some pain and it’s fine now.”
Hamilton had at least 20 scholarship offers, including Michigan, Notre Dame and Oklahoma. With all the mail, his recruiting has been nutty, to say the least.
“I’m just thankful I have two hands, I guess,” Hamilton said when asked about daily trips to the mailbox. “It’s crazy. That’s the best way to put it. You’ve got to stay humble with it and stay patient with the process and make sure you really pick out the schools and narrow it down as quickly as you can.”
Links -- Hamilton was named the Strongsville Post player of the year. "I'm too competitive," said Hamilton, whose first love used to be hoops. "I can't stay away from competition. It would kill me to go to a game to watch and know I can make a difference. I think our team can really do something special this year."
Three most interesting bio items -- 1) Played in Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C. 2) Had 55 catches his senior year. 3) Four-year letterwinner in football and basketball. Teammate of Iowa hoops recruit Aaron White.
Ferentz on -- Iowa tight ends coach Eric Johnson told the tight ends in this class they wanted two. They ended up with three, but not before Johnson asked the first two -- Henry Krieger-Coble and Hamilton -- what they thought about bringing in Jake Duzey.
"Ray Hamilton probably had the best quote on it, he said, ‘Coach, this is our team now. Whatever it takes to help us win,’ " Johnson said. "When you have guys who take that kind of attitude, you have a pretty good chance of being successful. That’s why we ended up taking three guys."
As far as Hamilton's skills go . . .
"He didn’t come to our camp, but he’s probably the truest tight end out of the group," Johnson said. "You can see him block on tape. You can see him do some of the motion stuff we do on tape. He can run, catch."
Projection is fun -- Hamilton is listed 6-5, 235. He has plenty of room to get to 255 or 260 and still keep a tight end's speed.
And that's what you wonder about with some of the big TE prospects, the wheels. Hamilton's are good enough to not only earn football honors, but he's also a accomplished basketball player.
His body could translate to other positions, but if he shows the burst he's shown at Strongsville, he's a true tight end.
Why mess with that?