CEDAR RAPIDS — Ethan Hurkett was first. Josh Volk followed about a month later.
The Cedar Rapids Xavier duo committed last spring to play football at the University of Iowa and signed their official letters of intent Wednesday during a ceremony at the school.
Both seniors are three-star recruits, if you believe in that kind of stuff. Volk is an offensive tackle, Hurkett a linebacker who likely will end up as a defensive lineman with the Hawkeyes.
“Just kind of soaking it in right now because it only happens once,” Volk said, after having a bunch of photos taken with family, friends and Xavier coaches. “Really excited. Can’t wait until next year to be down at Iowa with Ethan and all of my other teammates. It’ll be fun.”
It must have fun watching this duo square off in drills and things during their prep careers.
“Been doing it for about three and a half years now,” Hurkett said. “It’s always good competition. We don’t really do a lot of one-on-ones, but practices and scrimmages and stuff like that, it’s always fun. Love that competition.”
Hurkett played inside linebacker for Xavier and led the Saints in tackles the past two years. At 6-foot-3 and 237 pounds now, his future might lie on the line at Iowa, though he said nothing has been fully determined.
Iowa did list him as a defensive lineman on its press release announcing its 19 signees.
“Most likely an end, but they haven’t really specified too much, yet,” Hurkett said. “Wherever they put me, I’ll be happy. I’m just going to bring the work ethic into whatever position they put me.”
“The words I use are ‘tough’ and ‘grinding,’” said Xavier Coach Duane Schulte. “He is a guy that embraces the grind and loves the physical aspect of the sport. There were many times where someone would run into him and just stop. He’d just take them the other way. There is a certain sound that comes when he hits people, and it’s a good sound when you’re his football coach.”
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The 6-foot-4, 320-pound Volk tore an ACL in his knee in Xavier’s state playoff semifinal win last season and missed his team’s first five games this season before being medically cleared to play. The injury set his development back, obviously, but he has been doing workouts at The Anvil gym in Hiawatha since the season ended in hopes of gaining more strength by the time he gets to Iowa City over the summer.
Volk wore a “Farm Strong” Iowa T-shirt and “ANF” cap to the signing ceremony. His family lives on a farm just outside Cedar Rapids, and Volk has helped Xavier assistant coach Jim O’Connell with his farming duties over the years.
“He’s a good football player now, but I think he’s just scratching the surface,” Schulte said. “He’s got great feet. That was proven by in either his freshman or sophomore year when he went to state in the shot put and discus. I used to watch him when he played basketball. He was a hell of a center. He moved his feet well, you’d watch him run and down the floor, watch his post moves, things he would do in the post. You look at him and you go ‘This kid’s an athlete.’”
Hurkett and Volk will join Bryce and Quinn Schulte as Xavier grads at Iowa. The Schultes are the sons of Coach Schulte.
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