By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – There is no question that Kirk Ferentz and his staff deserve the majority of the credit for assembling the Iowa football team’s 2020 recruiting class, or any recruiting class for that matter.
But some of the credit must be given to the lone quarterback in the class, Deuce Hogan.
After becoming the first to commit to the class last June, Hogan, a native of Grapevine, Texas, took it upon himself to reach out to prospective recruits on social media and during visits to campus.
Fast forward to today, and Iowa’s class currently sits at 22 verbal commitments, the vast majority of which will be present for Iowa’s matchup with No. 10 Penn State on Saturday.
“There’s the leadership role that comes with the position,” Hogan said. “The access I have to potential future teammates on social media is really special, it’s really cool. I was able to get in touch with a few high-level recruits really fast.
“I reached out to the (Iowa coaching) staff and asked who they wanted me to reach out to. Once the ball got rolling, it was really easy to keep going reaching out to people.”
The ball was certainly rolling this June, when nine players made verbal pledges to the Hawkeyes following their official visits.
Defensive lineman Michael Lois, who was the second player to commit to the class, said the chemistry between the players in the class played a big part in how it came together.
“I’ve always been pretty involved,” Lois said. “Deuce was the first to commit and I was the second. Deuce is definitely the class of 2020 leader for Iowa. I check up on guys and we’ve got a big group chat, we all get along well.”
They come from 12 different states, cover virtually every position on the football field on offense and defense, and have been together in the class for a while.
The most recent player to commit to the class was Indiana defensive lineman Deonte Craig in August.
Until the group came together in June, Hogan did not expect to have such a flurry of commitments.
“When we all got on campus for our official visit, I definitely knew there was something special,” Hogan said. “I knew that a lot of guys left with a really good impression. The chemistry between people is the weird thing, it’s hard to explain, but you either have it or you don’t.”
Running back Leshon Williams, a native of Oak Lawn, Ill., said Hogan wasted no time in telling Williams what Iowa had to offer.
The 5-foot-10, 205-pound Williams is excited to get back to Iowa City to reunite with his future teammates this weekend.
“When I first got the offer, he was one of the first ones to congratulate me,” Williams said. “He immediately direct messaged me to give me a reason why I should commit and how excited he was for the class.
“It’s very cool to be going with the 2020 class because these are the guys I’ll be playing with and we all already have a close bond and have only met each other in person once.”
Hogan was quick to give praise to Lois, whose proximity as a native of Elkhorn, Wis. and willingness to reach out to other players has been an integral part of the class.
“Michael is a huge help,” Hogan said. “He’s up there closer, so he’s grown up a Hawkeye, he’s on campus a lot more than I am. He’s on the defensive side of the ball, very funny, outgoing guy and to have him on your team is very big and special.
“In terms of getting people, it’s hard to build a class without great communicators. If you’re not comfortable enough to reach out to people and go out on a limb it’s hard, but Michael has done such an incredible job.”
Lois has done this despite the possibility of never playing football again after suffering three broken vertebrae in a freak accident just two weeks after he committed last September.
“A lot of guys would tap out, a lot of guys definitely tell you, man, if I can’t do it I’m not going to work to benefit anybody else,” Hogan said. (Michael is) one of the most selfless guys and is always holding the program above his own head and that’s pretty special.”
Iowa’s 2020 recruiting class
Gavin Williams, RB, 6-0, 195, West Des Moines, Iowa
Deuce Hogan, QB, 6-4, 191, Grapevine, Texas
Michael Lois, DE, 6-4, 260, Elkhorn, Wisc.
Isaiah Bruce, DE, 6-2, 247, Lena, Ill.
Logan Jones, DE, 6-3, 252, Council Bluffs, Iowa
Ethan Burkett, LB, 6-3, 230, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Josh Volk, OL, 6-4, 306, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Tyler Elsbury, OL, 6-5, 298, Byron, Ill.
Elijah Yelverton, TE, 6-5, 235, Dallas, Texas
Leshon Williams, RB, 5-10, 205, Oak Lawn, Ill.
Mason Richman, DE, 6-5, 259, Stilwell, Kan.
Yahya Black, DE, 6-5, 250, Marshall, Minn.
Quavon Matthews, WR, 6-0, 170, Largo, Fla.
Keylen Gulley, DB, 6-0, 167, Largo, Fla.
A.J. Lawson, DB, 6-2, 180, Decatur, Ill.
Brenden Deasfernandes, DB, 6-0, 161, Belleville, Mich.
Lukas Van Ness, DE, 6-5, 240, Barrington, Ill.
Jay Higgins, LB, 6-0, 209, Indianapolis, Ind.
Reggie Bracy, DB, 6-0, 190, Mobile, Ala.
Aaron Witt, DL, 6-5, 230, Winona, Minn.
Diante Vines, WR, 5-11, 189, Watertown, Conn.
Luke Lachey, TE, 6-7, 220, Grandview Heights, Ohio
Deontae Craig, DL, 6-3, 235, Culver, Ind.