Hawkeye football cleaning up commits

Iowa now with four Texas recruits, up 14 overall

  • Photo

IOWA CITY — Iowa football held its annual Hawkeye Tailgater event this weekend, and it already has produced a slew of 2017 recruits.

Wide receiver Brandon Smith and defensive back Camron Harrell verbally committed to the Hawkeyes on Sunday. Wide receiver Gavin Holmes and cornerback Matt Hankins unveiled their choices on Monday. All announced their decisions over Twitter.

Smith stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 198 pounds. He scored 16 touchdowns, caught 78 passes and accumulated 1,382 yards last year at Lake Cormorant (Miss.) High School. He was a Class 5A first-team all-state selection in Mississippi.

“Camp went great,” Smith told HawkeyeReport.com. “The coaches really liked me. They like how big I am and how I catch the ball naturally.”

According to Rivals, Smith had offers from southern schools Memphis, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe and Arkansas State.

Smith’s video highlights reveal long-striding speed to go along with good quickness. He shows the ability to catch the ball in traffic with his hands and blow past defenders. At the Mississippi state track meet on May 9, Smith cleared 6-8 on the high jump.

Harrell, who is 5-10 and weighs 181, displays impressive quickness on defense, offense and special teams. He makes opponents miss with his moves and shows an ability to hit. He’s projected to play defensive back.

At Bradley-Bourbonnais (Ill.) High School last year, Harrell had more than 900 receiving yards and 20 receiving touchdowns. In a Class 7A semifinal loss, Harrell caught six passes for 112 yards and a score. In a double-overtime playoff win against Glenbrook North, Harrell scored six touchdowns and tossed the game-winning 2-point conversion as a wildcat quarterback in a 60-59 win.

At last month’s Illinois state track meet, Harrell placed fourth in the 100 (10.68) — just .02 from second place — and 10th in the long jump (22-1 1/2). Fellow 2017 Iowa commit A.J. Epenesa won the discus and finished second in the shot put at the same meet.

“It was such a relief because I was wondering for a while if I would be a scholarship guy for them and hearing that from Coach (Kirk) Ferentz was amazing,” Harrell told Hawkeye Report.

“I love Iowa,” he added. “Great people, town, football, just overall perfect.”

Holmes, who was born in Iowa, is a sizzling-fast receiver at Justin (Texas) Northwest, a school in the Dallas Metroplex. He recorded 61 catches for 828 yards and eight touchdowns last year. Holmes shows an ability to streak past defenders and make contested catches.

According to Hawkeye Report, Holmes (5-10, 180) had offers from Duke, Wisconsin, Utah, BYU, Kansas, Syracuse and Boise State, among others. Holmes and Hankins increase the number of Texas commits to four in the 2017 class, joining running back Eno Benjamin and quarterback Peyton Mansell.

“That’s the cherry on top,” Holmes told Hawkeye Report about the Texas connection. “I’m super excited to be a part of this with my boys from back home. We are building a special class at Iowa.”

“It’s very exciting,” Hankins said. “We all know each other really well, and we’re making it a Texas movement.”

Hankins (6-1, 160) had two interceptions, 50 tackles (33 solos) and 13 pass deflections at Flower Mound (Texas) Marcus High School. He was a Class 6A first-team all-district cornerback. Hankins can play man or press and breaks on the ball quickly when it’s in the air. His finalists included Texas Tech, Duke and Houston and he has offers from Colorado, Missouri, Illinois and Kansas, among others.

“I picked them because out of my top four that I visited, I felt most comfortable with Iowa,” Hankins told Hawkeye Report. “The players and coaches were great and I got along with them all.”

All but Harrell are considered three-star recruits by Rivals. Iowa now has 14 commits for the class of 2017.

l Comments: (319) 339-3169; scott.dochterman@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.
Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.