Brody Brecht stands as one of the state’s best football prospects of the 2021 class, but he’s just as good on the baseball field, too.
Brecht does a bit of everything for Ankeny High School, doing the bulk of his work on the mound while also remaining a consistent force offensively and in the outfield.
That’s why when he committed to Iowa on May 1, it was for both football and baseball.
“Football is my first love,” Brecht said. “I just wanted to decide where I wanted to play football at first… Once I decided Iowa was the best place for me to play football, then the baseball opportunity was there and I took it.”
Iowa baseball coach Rick Heller actually offered Brecht a scholarship during his sophomore year of high school.
Technically, since he took the football scholarship from Iowa, Brecht will be a walk-on with Heller’s program. But that doesn’t take anything away from his game.
If you want a hint at how big of an impact Brecht has on the baseball field, look at Ankeny baseball’s stats last season. He ranks in the top two or three in nearly every category.
“He’s a five-tool guy,” Ankeny baseball coach Joe Balvanz said. “He can hit for power, he can hit for average, and has a cannon for a right arm. He’s one of the best outfielders I’ve had the privilege to coach... He impacts the game of baseball everywhere he goes.”
Brecht went 6-3 during his sophomore season in 2019. He went 6-3 and a 2.46 ERA, striking out 70 batters and allowing 28 hits in his 42 2/3 innings pitched.
In a 1-0 win over Johnston last season, Brecht pitched 6 1/3 innings, striking out 11 batters.
"He just ran out of pitches, so we sent him to center field," Balvanz said. "He goes and takes a ball off the wall, and we win the ballgame 1-0. I haven’t coached a whole lot of kids that no matter where I put them on the field, he makes an impact."
Brecht finished the year with a .371 batting average, 39 hits, 30 RBIs, three home runs, 15 stolen bases, and a .522 on base percentage.
He’s only going to get better.
“He was consistently above 90 mph, before we got shut down indoors, in the strike zone,” Balvanz said. “There aren’t very many guys throwing in the indoor bullpen, but people who were walking around stopped to watch… He’s one of those guys that it’s amazing how the ball comes out of his hand. He’s got some God-given talent, but really works at it, too.”
Brecht said that during his recruitment, he and Iowa baseball assistant coach Marty Sutherland shared an honest relationship.
“I told him where I was at with football and baseball, and he was completely supportive of me wanting to play football first,” Brecht said. “But he also had to do his job too, trying to get me to play baseball as well. We have a very good relationship.”
But when it came time for Brecht to decide on where to go, he hopped on a Zoom call with both Heller and Kirk Ferentz, his future head coaches.
While the coaches didn’t spend the call arguing on who had first dibs on Brecht, the trio sorted out lifting plans and what travel would look like for the two-sport athlete. Once everything was hashed out, Brecht knew it was time to commit.
Brecht pointed out that the turning point in his recruitment came in April during the NFL Draft. Watching Tristan Wirfs go in the first round and the rest of the Hawkeyes hearing their names called over the course of the draft, it was hard to pass up for someone with NFL aspirations.
“I just felt Iowa could get me to the NFL,” Brecht said. “Watching the draft, seeing all the Hawkeyes get drafted, I felt like (Iowa) can get me there. You throw baseball on top of that, and I thought it was the best opportunity for me.”
Follow Adam Hensley on Twitter @A_Hens83