Hawkeyes Earn Another Commitment In James Daniels

By Marc Morehouse, The Gazette

At some point in the next couple of seasons, a Daniels could be blocking for a Daniels for the Iowa Hawkeyes.

There are mitigating factors — one being Iowa center Austin Blythe is pretty good and will be Iowa’s No. 1 at that position the next two seasons — but one part of the equation fell in Iowa’s favor Thursday.

James Daniels, a center from Harding (Warren, Ohio) High School announced at his school Thursday morning he has committed to Iowa for the 2015 recruiting class.

Daniels followed his brother, LeShun, who will be a sophomore running back for the Hawkeyes this fall. Blythe graduates, James develops and in 2016 you could have James Daniels blocking for LeShun.

“I would still be looking at Iowa heavily even if he wasn’t there,” James Daniels told HawkeyeReport.com on Thursday. “When I was thinking about my decision, I was looking at it because once I get there he’s already going to be a junior, so I’m going to have either two or three years at Iowa after he’s done. I guess it was kind of a factor, but it wasn’t a big one.”

The bigger picture for the Hawkeyes is that they wrestled a recruit away from a couple of college football’s blue bloods. Daniels narrowed his options to OSU and Iowa, after holding offers from several schools across the country, including Alabama.

“After I visited Alabama, I was kind of split on Alabama and Iowa, but then about the middle of last week I was pretty sure I had my decision,” Daniels said.

Earlier this week, Iowa missed on running back Aca’Cedric Ware, who picked USC over the Hawkeyes.

This week at Big Ten media days, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz was asked about Iowa’s biggest challenges in recruiting.

“I don’t know if it’s a stigma or stereotype, we’re not perceived as a sexy school or a blue blood school,” he said. “And we’re not. We’re not Ohio State. Ohio State has been good forever. They’ve had great players forever and a lot of them come from the state of Ohio, a football-rich state.

“The trick is getting them on campus and letting them see what we have. It’s a really well-kept secret. When players come, they find out we have a wonderful place. On top of that, we now have facilities that are second to none.”

Daniels’ father, LeShun, started at guard for Ohio State from 1994-96, playing on O-lines with the late Korey Stringer and Orlando Pace.

James Daniels, 6-3, 285 pounds, is ranked the fourth best center prospect nationally by rivals.com.

Daniels is the third commitment the Hawkeyes have picked up this week. Providence Catholic (New Lenox, Ill.) Tight end Nate Vejvoda (6-5, 215) committed on Sunday, and Horn (Mesquite, Texas) High School wide receiver Emmanuel Ogwo (6-0, 175) picked the Hawkeyes on Wednesday.

Iowa now has 14 commitments for the 2015 recruiting class. Ferentz said in Chicago that Iowa will sign between 17 to 22 prospects this year.

IOWA’S 2015 FOOTBALL COMMITMENTS

Jacob Newborg, OL/DL, 6-4, 271, West Lyon High School (Inwood) ***

Jack Beneventi, QB, 6-6, 190, Benet Academy (Lisle, Ill.) ***

Drew Cook, ATH, 6-5, 205, Regina High School (Iowa City) **

Landen Paulsen, OT, 6-6, 285, Woodbury Central (Moville) ***

Levi Paulsen, OT, 6-6, 275, Woodbury Central (Moville) ***

Ryan Boyle, QB, 6-1, 215, Dowling Catholic High School (West Des Moines) **

Jack Hockaday, ATH, 6-0, 205, Maroa-Forsyth High School (Maroa, Ill.) ***

Brady Reiff, DE, 6-4, 215, Parkston (S.D.) High School **

Brett Waechter, OL, 6-5, 265, Hartley-Melvin-Sanborn High School (Hartley) ***

Adrian Falconer, WR, 6-1, 185, LeesBurg (Fla.) High School **

Justin Jinning, LB, 6-1, 210, The Colony (Texas) High School **

James Daniels, OL, 6-3, 285, Harding (Warren, Ohio), High School ***

(* — Rivals.com rating)

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

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