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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The Iowa football team will welcome six of its 2021 recruits to campus on Jan. 25.
As spring football approaches, here's a look at who is getting a head start at making an impact on the Hawkeyes.
OL: Connor Colby, David Davidkov
Connor Colby and David Davidkov come in as four-star recruits, both top at their positions from their respective states.
Davidkov, a 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle from New Trier High School in Winnetka, Ill., caught the interest of 17 schools, including 10 from the Big Ten. Davidkov is a multisport athlete with rugby and wrestling experience, but didn't have a senior season on the football field since Illinois postponed high school football until February 2021.
Colby, a 6-5, 305-pound guard from Cedar Rapids Kennedy, isn't straying far from home to play for his dream school.
Colby is a three-year varsity veteran, and ranked No. 4 overall in the state of Iowa by the 247Sports Composite.
'What separates him from most high school offensive linemen is his tenacity and his ability to finish,' Kennedy head coach Brian White said. 'Connor always gets the last push, that's the type of style Iowa is known for.'
But what's also unique about Colby is his sense of style, specifically, his mullet, which he started growing his sophomore year.
'I'm a kid of the '80s, so it's fantastic, boy it's flowing, even had the curl in it,' White said. 'The funny thing is if you look around, young kids everywhere are starting to grow out these big mullets, but Connor's is fantastic.'
WR: Keagan Johnson, Arland Bruce IV
Keagan Johnson and Arland Bruce IV hope to make an immediate impact on the Hawkeye roster following the departures of Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith.
Johnson has Nebraska fans like his dad and high school coach jumping on the Iowa bandwagon. He comes from a long line of football athletes. His dad, Clester Johnson Sr., was a wingback for two national championship teams at Nebraska in 1994 and '95. Johnson's older brothers, C.J. and Cade, played football at Wyoming and South Dakota State, respectively.
At 6-1, 180 pounds, Johnson played both sides of the ball for his high school team, Bellevue West, which won the Class A state championship in 2019.
With four wide receivers on the roster during his sophomore year, Johnson played cornerback.
'You don't put someone with his talents standing on the sideline, playing 15 snaps a game, that's stupid,' Bellevue West Coach Michael Huffman said.
Bruce's transfer to Ankeny from Olathe North (Kan.) for his senior football season made national headlines last fall after he was initially ruled ineligble by the Iowa High School Athletic Association, even capturing the attention of Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes, who tweeted his support. Bruce, cleared to play five games into the season, aided in Ankeny's state-championship season alongside fellow Iowa recruit Brody Brecht. Bruce caught seven passes for 58 yards and rushed for 91 yards on 14 carries in the Hawks' 42-14 state title game defeat of Southeast Polk.
Bruce played quarterback during his sophomore year at Olathe North, then running back the following year. At Ankeny, he played running back and wide receiver, but has recently focused his efforts at receiver, hoping he can be a target in the slot.
'They did tell me I have a chance to play, but the best players play and they don't pick favorites,' Bruce said. 'My top three goals are to get to 200 pounds and not have to redshirt.'
TE: Zach Twedt
Zach Twedt never thought he'd be playing college football.
If anything, he thought baseball was his future until he garnered interest from college scouts during his freshman year of high school. He first caught the eyes of Iowa State recruiters, and saw it as an opportunity to have college paid for.
'I never had a goal or dream of playing (for) any specific college,' Twedt said. 'Growing up a farm kid I just never watched TV. I don't even really watch sports. If I'm sitting behind a TV, I get disappointed in myself because I think about all the things that I could be doing to better myself instead of sitting there doing nothing.'
But through the recruiting process, he saw a home at Iowa because of its culture of recruiting other guys who had grown up with similar lifestyles across the Midwest.
At 6-3, 205 pounds, Twedt played tight end at Roland-Story, but his senior season was cut short by a dislocated shoulder and torn labrum. He spent the season learning about the game from the sidelines while rehabbing his shoulder, which is now almost at full strength.
'The first time I watched this kid even just do formation recognition and call out the strength of the defense, he was such a great communicator and got his teammates in the correct position so efficiently,' Roland-Story football coach Matt Finn said. 'He's got a really good head for the game.'
DE: Justice Sullivan
Justice Sullivan, a Rivals four-star weak side defensive end standing at 6-1 and weighing 220 pounds, also didn't expect to be playing college football.
Originally from Ghana, Sullivan was adopted at 8 years old and lived in Huxley before moving to Eden Prairie, Minn., before high school. His dad, Jake Sullivan, is a former Iowa State basketball star, holding school records in free-throw percentage and 3-pointers made.
Sullivan said his coordination wasn't great growing up when he tried playing basketball.
'When you're younger, you just go run around and tackle,' Sullivan said. 'There's not really much to it, so it was more fun for me to play football than basketball.'
Sullivan comes from a Minnesota football powerhouse. Eden Prairie won a sectional state championship in an abbreviated bracket due to COVID-19, but was the state runner-up in 2018.
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