No. 16 -- SS Nico Law
STRONG SAFETY NICO LAW
Arrival: The 6-1, 195-pounder was a good get for Iowa in the '11 class. Law chose the Hawkeyes over offers from homestate Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan State, Purdue, Rutgers, Virginia and Illinois. As a junior, he had 61 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Maryland.
He pretty much lays down the . . . facts about what makes him a tough player in this interview with HawkeyeReport.com:
Q: What makes you unique do you think?
LAW: I would say my aggressiveness as a safety and my explosiveness.
Q: You're not afraid to come up and hit someone?
LAW: No, I don't care how big you are.
You hear this more and more, but Law thought he was walking into a college in a cornfield in Iowa City.
“I had a very negative perception of it before going out there,” he told the Washington Post. “I thought it was going to be out in the cornfields. I was scared to go out there and what I was going to see. I thought I might cancel out the school before meeting the coaches. But it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. It was very cold [but] people were walking around in shorts and it was freezing. I guess they’re accustomed to it.”
This ESPN.com scouting report farther fueled Law's potential fan favorite status:
"Law is a hard-hitting, rangy defensive back prospect who may grow into an outside linebacker in college. He is tall and lean with great body length. Well-defined and his large frame should be able to pack on great bulk once he enters a full-time college weight training program. Explosive back-seven defender on film who plays the game fast, physical and with great toughness. Has little remorse for his body and is collision type of tackler who can force a turnover or set the tempo of the defense with his hits."
Law picked up 11 tackles last season on, mostly, special teams duties. He did see some time on defense.
2012 Takeoff: Pre-spring, Law was installed as starter at strong safety, but it's still a contest.
During the scrimmage, Law was rotated in and out of the No. 1 group with seniors Collin Sleeper and Tommy Donatell. When the scrimmage broke into a timed quarter, Law went into the game, but there was a lot of rotating.
Law did show some power and closing ability. Running back Damon Bullock took a handoff from James Vandenberg and bolted for what looked to be an 8- or 9-yard gain. Law read pass on the pre-snap and dropped 10 yards off the line of scrimmage.
Replay in slow motion on DVR showed Law as a blur. He meets Bullock and sends his helmet rocketing off his head. It was a definite killshot, but defensive coordinator Phil Parker probably wondered what Law saw on the pre-snap and there's a pretty good chance he didn't like the fact that Law didn't wrap up.
The point is there's room for growth and maturity here. That said, Law's physical presence automatically boosts the defense, especially against the run. The immediate upside is a potential three-years starter with an uncommon strike. Another Bob Sanders? Let's wait and see on that.
Secondary coach Darrell Wilson echoes this sentiment.
"Nico is not lacking confidence," Wilson said. "We just have to let Nico know that you don't know everything just yet.
"He's a football player. He wants to learn. He's gung ho. We have to turn him down a little bit, which is OK. You would rather turn a guy down than have to turn him up."
Also, "We're working with Nico Law," Wilson said. "Nico is extremely talented. Still learning the game, but he's going to be a nice player for us."