Iowa Football

Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum officially moves to center

Notes: Hawkeyes will have 6 early enrollees this year; Ferentz's philosophy on number of scholarships offered

Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum is making the move from defensive line to center. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa's Tyler Linderbaum is making the move from defensive line to center. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Kirk Ferentz is picky about centers. And so it always kind of felt like Tyler Linderbaum was destined for the position.

Linderbaum won a lot of the Iowa staff over in the summer of his senior season at Solon. While playing baseball with the Spartans, he reported for his summer Iowa football workouts at 6 a.m. during the week.

“I’m partial to centers, you guys know that,” Ferentz said during Iowa’s signing day news conference Wednesday. That was a reference to quarterback recruit Alex Padilla’s dad, but it’s totally true.

When December prep began for the Outback Bowl, Linderbaum, who played a few games as a true freshman defensive tackle this season, was switched to center.

“First point I’ll make is he was really doing well on defense, but part of my job is to look down the road, and I’ve been doing that for a while,” Ferentz said. “Just really over the past2 1/2 months, just kind of thinking about different scenarios about what it’s going to look like next year, and what I kept coming back to was I think that we really had a little bit of a void at the center position.”

Ferentz felt strongly enough about this switch to take from the defensive tackle position, which won’t have a ton of experienced depth next season.

“The only downside of this whole thing is I think we’re losing a good player on defense, but we’ll have to figure that out as we go,” Ferentz said.

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Other position changes: Former Mid-Prairie prep Levi Duwa has moved from center to defensive end. Wide receiver Henry Marchase is now playing safety.

Early enrollees

The Hawkeyes will have six incoming freshmen enroll for spring semester at the UI: offensive linemen Ezra Miller and Justin Britt, Padilla, running back Shadrick Byrd, linebacker Jestin Jacobs and defensive back Daraun McKinney.

In the past, Ferentz has more or less discouraged this. He’s good with it now, but with a few conditions.

“First, it’s got to be their idea and not our idea,” Ferentz said. “If a guy is not ready to leave high school, it’s a really bad idea.”

Signing Day:Iowa held on to its commits during this recruiting cycle

Academics is the other measure.

“We have to do a good job as a staff and our team has to do a good job making sure we remember these guys aren’t with their class, and they’re starting new just like the freshmen did last June,” Ferentz said. “It’s still a different level, so we’ve really got to make sure we’re interactive with them and they don’t get left behind or feel like they’re left behind.”

How many offers?

There is no cap on the list of scholarship offers a school can make, just keep that in mind. Everyone does business a little differently, every staff’s situation is different. There are contrasts within this region.

The Athletic compiled the list. Tennessee offered the most among Power 5 schools at 440. Nebraska was No. 3 at 413. Iowa State was 10th at 333. Minnesota was 12th at 303.

Iowa was 58th at 131.

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Ferentz explained the Hawkeyes’ philosophy. Basically, he has a problem with “non-committable offers,” a term that has risen in recruiting in the last five or so years.

“To offer multi, multi, multi players at one position, it’s kind of a scam because all you’re doing is you’re getting that guy to (believe), ‘Hey, they really liked me,’ so it’s a better hook than, ‘Hey, we’ll let you know in a couple weeks.’

“But it’s a false offer. It’s not real. I don’t know, we try to be very straightforward with our dialect.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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