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SOLON — Solon’s Tyler Linderbaum has been an Iowa Hawkeye fan from an early age.
Living about 15 minutes away from Iowa City, he will get the chance to take the field of the athletes he watched as a kid.
The junior lineman confirmed his verbal commitment to play football for the University of Iowa and Hawkeye head coach Kirk Ferentz. Linderbaum, who announced his decision Monday on Twitter, was a first-team all-state selection by the Iowa Newspaper Association, helping Solon to a 9-2 record and a Class 3A state quarterfinal appearance against eventual state champion Pella.
He follows the trail of former Solon preps James Morris, Marshall Koehn, Dalton Ferguson and senior teammate Jacob Coons, who signed as a tight end.
“It was about how I fit in and that’s where I felt the most comfortable,” Linderbaum said. “I really enjoyed their staff and the players there. I feel it fit me well.”
Linderbaum had received a previous scholarship offer from Iowa State, but Iowa was tops on his list. His interaction with current Hawkeyes on his visit cemented his choice.
“I had a one-on-one with some players,” Linderbaum said. “I got their perspective on Iowa and how it is.
“I knew right then that’s where I wanted to play college football.”
A strong work ethic and competitive nature has allowed him to make strides and eliminate complacency, elevating him as an NCAA Division I recruit.
“He’s worked extremely hard to put himself in this position,” Solon Coach Kevin Miller said. “He’s put in a lot of time. He’s a weight-room warrior. He’s a four-sport athlete.
“He does everything exceptionally well. At the end of the day, he’s a really good athlete.”
He played both sides of the ball for the Spartans, finishing second on the team with 42 1/2 total tackles including 28 solo. seven tackles for loss, three solo sacks and a fumble recovery. As a junior, Linderbaum had 27 1/2 total tackles, six for loss and four solo sacks.
“He’s sound, as far as technique and fundamentals go,” Miller said. “He plays with great pad level, leverage and he just gets off the ball so quick.”
Linderbaum earned all-state honors as an offensive lineman, but has been projected as a defender. Linderbaum likes offense and defense equally and will play wherever asked.
“I don’t care,” Linderbaum said. “I like both. I’ll play wherever my team needs me and give 100 percent at whatever position they put me.”
Linderbaum’s nearly 6-foot-3 and 275-pound frame is a good fit for the defensive interior. Miller said some of Linderbaum’s best qualities can’t be measured and are necessities for success in the Hawkeyes’ defensive front.
“He’s nasty, he’s tough (and) hard-nosed,” Miller said. “He just has some of those intangibles you just can’t teach.
“I think one of his greatest attributes is he’s a true competitor. He hates to lose. He plays at such a high level because he doesn’t take any plays off.”
Linderbaum is a versatile athlete, participating in four sports at Solon. He was 53-10 at heavyweight last season, placing fifth at the Class 2A state tournament. Linderbaum qualified for the Drake Relays, throwing the shot put 54 feet. He also played baseball, hitting .298 with a .403 on-base percentage. He led the Spartans with 32 RBIs and ranked among team leaders in runs and hits.
“He’s a special kid,” Miller said. “He’s got great upside to say the least. We’re pretty excited about him.”
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