Say what you want about national signing day, but there is some magic out there.
George Kittle planned to take a scholarship offer to Weber State in Utah. Then, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz called Wednesday morning. He offered a scholarship to Iowa, where George’s dad, Bruce, played offensive line for a Rose Bowl team in 1981.
“I’m a little excited to say the least,” Kittle told HawkeyeReport.com. “Coach Ferentz called today and said they had a couple of offers out if they didn’t get accepted that I would get an offer. The last two guys didn’t accept and they called and extended an offer about 15 minutes ago.”
Bruce Kittle is an assistant coach at Oklahoma for Bob Stoops since 2010. Prior to that, he was a graduate assistant and player for the Hawkeyes under Hayden Fry and the family lived in the state of Iowa.
So, George Kittle returns home. He pretty much screamed that in a mid-morning tweet about coming back to the “#319.”
“I am so excited to be coming home again, plus my cousin, Henry Kreiger-Coble, plays on the team as well,” Kittle said. Krieger-Coble will be a redshirt freshman tight end for the Hawkeyes next fall.
Kittle, 6-foot-4, 200 pounds, went to Iowa’s summer camps the last two years. He had 370 yards and six touchdowns receiving for Norman High School as a senior. Kittle is also a basketball standout for the Tigers. He was No. 19 on The Oklahoman's final Super 30 list of the top football prospects in the state.
From ESPN.com: Has good natural hands, can catch out of the frame, demonstrating the ability to adjust to the high behind throw. We like his toughness; shows the willingness to come inside and take a hit to secure the catch; does a good job blocking on the perimeter while looking for a second block downfield. Kittle appears to have the athleticism and receiving skills necessary for production at the non BCS level of production.
What Iowa coaches said
Head coach Kirk Ferentz: Bruce, his wife is a much better athlete. Jan was an all-American basketball player, and I think held records at Drake. She and her sister beat up on Bruce and I in 1983-84. They beat the crap out of us. That was the deciding factor. I think George is a guy that's really, if you watch his tape he's an in-between player, not sure what positions he's going to play. But I certainly like his competitiveness. He's an intelligent young guy, and again, that comes from his mom.We think he's a guy that has a chance in our program to blossom and develop. So, we're really excited. He's got good ball skills. He's about 6'4", 205, and might be a tight end, outside linebacker. We're not sure where he's going to fit, but we think he's a good football player and we’re really happy to get him. And I know playing here is important to him. That certainly counts, too.
Recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: That was a late one. We had him in our camp, we just didn't know if we'd have room for him. He's got a lot of intangibles, mom and dad. [Iowa TE] Henry [Krieger-Coble] is his cousin. What's he going to play? Maybe a tight end. Maybe a wide receiver. Maybe an outside linebacker. He loves to play football. Guys who love to play football usually find some type of success here at this place. That's what we're looking for, tough guys who love to play football. He's one of those guys.
What I think
I don't think you can say it any better than the way Eric Johnson put it. Tough kid who loves to play football. I think that's the baseline, more times than not, for the Iowa staff to make an offer. The measure of "toughness" isn't always easy to gauge. I'm sure it's a "know it when you see it" type of thing. With Krieger-Kittle, I imagine that's going across the middle, going into areas of the field to grab a ball when he knows he's going to take a hit.
Does this sound like some of the things Iowa coaches saw when they popped in the Ed Hinkle tape more than 10 years ago now?