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In-state OL highlight Iowa’s 2019 signing class

IOWA CITY — The University of Iowa football team signed 20 players to national letters of intent Wednesday, a group headlined by instate linemen Ezra Miller of Holstein and Tyler Endres of Norwalk.

Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz said he is excited about this new crop of recruits.

“I know every year there’s an article that kind of pokes fun about how excited coaches are about the guys they sign, and I would just say this: you probably shouldn’t offer a scholarship up if you’re not excited about that prospect,” Ferentz said in a press conference Wednesday. “It’s certainly a big day in every prospect’s career, too, to earn and achieve a scholarship to a Big Ten university. It’s tough to do. It’s very difficult.”

Miller and Endres were two of Iowa’s four-star signees, joining linebacker Jestin Jacobs of Ohio.

Ferentz said Jacobs was a great pickup, particularly because he was taken from the hot bed of rival Big Ten rival Ohio State’s recruiting scene.

“First of all, we’re really excited about him, and I think more excited now that [Ohio State] made a run at him, another school made a run at him, and I think there were some people in the community obviously that would have hoped he would have gone there, but he stood his ground,” Ferentz said of Jacobs. “He was firmly committed to us, and that certainly makes us feel good, and that’s not easy when you’re 17, 18 years old to make a firm commitment and then stick with it when there’s maybe some outside pressure to do something differently.”

The Hawkeyes also signed quarterback Alex Padilla, a two-time, first-team all-state pick out of Colorado. He will likely compete with Peyton Mansell for playing time after Nate Stanley departs following next season.

“He’s just a really good player. He played on a really good football team. Outstanding coaching staff there, really impressive,” Ferentz said of Padilla. “I just think the guy, he’s a winner. He’s what a quarterback should be. He’s pretty smooth with what he does. I think he’s pretty nifty.”

Iowa signed three tight ends, a position of need with Noah Fant off to the NFL and T.J. Hockenson in position to join him. The Hawkeyes brought in five Iowans, including linebacker Jack Campbell of Cedar Falls.

Ferentz said now the challenge is to get all of this new talent into the room and have it meld together with what is currently on the roster so the Hawkeyes are putting the best product on the field possible.

“There’s a period of reality when players get here, they look around the room and find out that we’ve recruited other guys the last five years or four years, too. It’s always competitive,” Ferentz said. “But really good players don’t worry about that. Most of them are just going to go to work and go from there. Sometimes it’s harder on the adults, I think, that geez, what, my kid is not starting, he’s not first team right now.

“But you know, once I think they get around and see things, they realize that there’s a progression to all this, and very few guys run to the top of the hill right off the bat. Most of them have to work their way up, and that’s the deal.”

Iowa (8-4) closes out the season against Mississippi State (8-4) in the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.

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