Quarterback the prize recruit for Ferentz, Iowa

IOWA CITY – Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz built his program on finding unheralded players with versatility, strong leadership skills and plenty of room to develop.

The Hawkeyes brought in another recruiting class Wednesday that looks like a classic Ferentz haul.

Iowa signed 24 players who all seem to have a similar profile. Nearly all of them are considered three-star recruits and most grew up in the Midwest.

Such an approach might not work at other places. But Iowa won 12 games and reached the Rose Bowl last season using a template that helped turn the likes of Desmond King, C.J. Beathard, Josey Jewell and others into standout Big Ten players.

One of the biggest pulls for Iowa was Nathan Stanley, a quarterback from Menomonie, Wisc. Stanley will likely be the most scrutinized player in this class over the next few years. Stanley shunned his home-state Badgers for Iowa, and at 6-foot-4 he looks like a prototypical pro passer in Iowa’s system. It could be years before Stanley sees the field, with Tyler Wiegers set to take over for Beathard in 2017 and second-year freshmen Ryan Boyle and Drew Cook behind him.

“It started … he came to camp a couple years ago,” Ferentz said. “It seems like he was in about eighth grade. I’m exaggerating there, but I think he was coming off his tenth-grade season and he really impressed us in camp, to start with the things that he can do, throwing the football, his release, all those kinds of things.”

Ferentz went on to say has he started to see Stanley grow, he realized how crucial it would be to get him to come play with the Hawkeyes.

“But we really think he’s got all the attributes of a good quarterback,” Ferentz said. “He’s a good athlete. He’s got a real command, a real presence about him, and then in a quiet way I would say, kind of like CJ Beathard or Brad Banks, not necessarily a boisterous guy, but a guy that players rally around and gravitate to.”

Other things to know:

Defensive ends Cedrick Lattimore, a 250-pounder out of Detroit, and Illinois product Romeo McKnight, could be next in line to blossom along Iowa’s front. Running back Toks Akinribade had plenty of offers and Alaric Jackson is a 6-foot-7, 285-pound tackle who also played basketball, soccer, baseball and track. Iowa’s best linemen have traditionally been multi-sport stars in high school.

Late addition: Alaric Jackson, OL, Detroit. He reportedly turned down a late offer from Michigan.

One that got away: U.S. Army All-American Bowl pick John Raridon of West Des Moines, Iowa, turned down Iowa and Iowa State in favor of Nebraska.

How they’ll fit in: Iowa brings back a ton of talent from last season’s Big Ten West-winning team and the Hawkeyes usually redshirt most of their freshmen anyway. But Iowa will likely look for a few of them to contribute on special teams.