Iowa Football

Brody Brecht wants to make a career in football even though MLB is calling

Ankeny star plans on playing both sports as a Hawkeye

Ankeny's Brody Brecht (11) turns and runs upfield during a football game against Johnston at Ankeny Stadium on Friday, O
Ankeny’s Brody Brecht (11) turns and runs upfield during a football game against Johnston at Ankeny Stadium on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, in Ankeny. (Brian Powers/Des Moines Register)

Iowa football incoming freshman Brody Brecht’s first and best quarterback was his mother.

The objective of every nerf football pass Kelcy Brecht threw in the living room was that it had to be “uncatchable,” because that’s what would make Brody better. And he had to catch it in dramatic fashion: diving for the floor.

That’s where Brody gets his competitive edge, as — she says — the two of them are the most competitive in the family.

“I tell him when you win a big championship someday, you have to thank your mom for throwing uncatchable passes in the living room,” Kelcy said.

Brody played wide receiver for the Class 4A state champion Ankeny Hawks this fall, tallying 42 catches for 599 yards this season, an average of 12 yards per catch. He also returned eight punts for 154 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown.

Brecht is on scholarship with Iowa football, but he’ll also be a top walk-on for the Hawkeye baseball team. And there’s a third option lingering — Brecht could leave high school a professional baseball player this summer.

But, according to Brody and everyone around him, his true love is football — the physicality of its competition, pace of game and brotherhood.

“There are some things that can happen for him on the baseball side, but I think they’d have to be pretty extraordinary for him to get away from his true passion,” said Brody’s father, Aaron Brecht.

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The 6-foot-4, 205-pound, three-star football recruit is currently No. 182 on PerfectGame’s list of top 300 MLB prospects. He has registered multiple 96 and 98-mph fastballs as a pitcher, while also being one of the state’s top outfielders for Ankeny.

“I probably won’t come across another athlete like Brody for the rest of my coaching career,” Ankeny head baseball coach Joe Balvanz said. “I’ve never had a kid as draftable as him, I don’t think Ankeny has had a guy as draftable as him.”

Balvanz said the last two players from the area he can think of are Joel Lanning, the former Iowa State quarterback turned linebacker, and Keaton McKinney, a former pitcher at Arkansas, but neither were as highly touted as Brecht.

Brody’s heart for competition is what drives him in both sports.

For now, he still plans on playing his senior baseball season this summer since the team lost the 2020 Class 4A state championship to Johnston. The state final this year is slated for July 31, which means he’ll be arriving in Iowa City just a month before the first football game.

“If we won state last year, I might be enrolling early at Iowa,” Brecht said. “But I couldn’t leave knowing we didn’t see something through. Hope we can take care of business this year.”

The senior class at Ankeny is what built Brecht. He’s played baseball and football with people like Jase Bauer and Weston Fulk, who will also be continuing their careers in collegiate athletics. Bauer will play quarterback at Central Michigan, while Fulk will join Brecht at Iowa on the baseball team.

The three were ball boys for the varsity football team in eighth grade, meaning they were in charge of supplying the game balls and helping with practices. Watching the varsity squad, they vowed they would win a state championship one day.

But it took some work.

Brecht and Bauer moved up as two of three freshmen on the varsity roster, when the Hawks went 4-5. The next year, the team broke even, going 5-5, then finished 7-4 in 2019. But this past season, the state champions amassed an 11-1 record, defeating Southeast Polk, 42-14 in the final with the help of another Iowa signee, Arland Bruce IV, who transferred from Olathe North (Kan.). Their only loss came to Waukee at the beginning of the season, without Bruce.

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“Every time we walked out of the locker room and every time I got on the bus, I was right next to Brody,” Bauer said. “We had experienced all the highs and lows together and this past year was a blast.”

Brody studies football, and followed the college careers of Iowa’s Kevonte Martin-Manley and Marvin McNutt at Iowa. His NFL favorites are DK Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins and Devonte Adams. He studies their film on YouTube, trying to improve his releases to create separation from opposing defensive backs.

“I just implemented those into my game and tried to use them on the field,” Brody said.

Fulk is excited to continue his career in baseball with his best friend. He committed to Iowa during his sophomore year, and just anxiously waited for Brecht’s decision over the next year.

“I didn’t want to persuade him to go to Iowa,” Fulk said. “But when I found out, it was such a relief, like a weight was lifted off my shoulders.”

Brecht could go anywhere, but his heart is in football, and he hopes Iowa can make his dream of playing in the NFL a reality.

“The biggest thing is they turn three-star guys into NFL stars,” Brecht said. “I kind of love that grind.”

But first: Win state in baseball.

Comments: (319) 398-8387; leah.vann@thegazette.com

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