116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Iowa's turnaround in Illinois/Chicago area recruiting took another step Monday night.
Oswego (Ill.) East running back Ivory Kelly-Martin made the call and picked the Hawkeyes over offers from Wisconsin, Arizona and Illinois. Last season, Kelly-Martin finished with 190 carries for 2,036 yards and 33 touchdowns at Nazareth Academy, leading the school to a state championship in Class 5A. As a senior, he will be attending Oswego East.
On his Twitter feed Monday evening, Kelly-Martin wrote 'I would like to thank all of the coaches whom I have met and spoken with throughout the recruitment process. You have all made positive and lasting impressions that I will remember and appreciate throughout my life.
'I would now like to announce that I have committed to continue my academic and athletic career at The University of Iowa! Go Hawkeye Football!'
— Ivory Kelly-Martin (@ivory_kelly1)
Kelly-Martin is the eighth commitment for Iowa's 2017 class, which is expected to be around 17 players. Kelly-Martin is the second Illinois prep in the class, joining Edwardsville defensive end A.J. Epenesa.
Illinois recruiting has always been vital to Iowa football. In 2012, Iowa signed five Illinois preps. All five will be fifth-year seniors for the Hawkeyes this season, including defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson. In 2013, Iowa signed three Illinois preps and all three left the program (with wide receiver Derrick Willies being the most noteworthy). In 2014 and 2015, Iowa signed just three prospects from Illinois.
Last year, Iowa signed five players from Illinois (LB Amani Jones, DE Romeo McKnight, LB Nick Niemann, corner Emmanuel Rugamba and LB Barrington Wade).
Iowa offered Kelly-Martin during its junior day in early March.
'When Coach (Kirk) Ferentz had me in his (office), that's when he gave me the offer,' Kelly-Martin told HawkeyeReport.com. 'One of their assistants brought me to the coaches' room and Coach Ferentz was saying how much they liked the way I played and how I would be a great fit for how they run stuff there.'
Being from Illinois, Kelly-Martin has had a chance to make several visits to Iowa City. In fact, he began visiting before the Hansen Performance Center was operational (the $55 million indoor facility and operations building opened last summer). And, yes, the Hansen has gotten recruits' attention.
'I've went down there for a camp a couple years ago,' Kelly-Martin said. 'It was a lot different. All their new stuff wasn't there a couple years ago. Being able to see it all was awesome. Their new weight room was ridiculous and everything football there was just fantastic.'
Kelly-Martin is ranked as a 3-star recruit by Rivals.com and the No. 8 prospect in the state of Illinois. Boosted by Epenesa, a 4-star prospect, and a host of 3-stars (including North Fayette D-lineman Juan Harris, Mount Vernon offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs, Solon TE/LB Jacob Coons and Bettendorf OT Mark Kallenberger), Iowa's 2017 recruiting class is ranked No. 12 in the nation by Rivals.
l Comments: (319) 398-8256; email@example.com