IOWA CITY, Iowa - For the first time in two years, Iowa Football played host to recruits at a game on Saturday. The Hawkeyes impressed them with a 34-6, season-opening victory against Indiana at Kinnick Stadium.
Like the fans, prep prospects were prohibited from attending college contests in 2020 due to the pandemic. A 15-month recruiting dead period ended June 1.
A pair of five-star prospects from Pleasant Hill (IA) Southeast Polk returned to campus. Class of '22 safety Xavier Nwankpa and Kadyn Proctor, a '23 offensive tackle, wore smiles throughout the day in Kinnick.
"I loved the atmosphere," Proctor told HN. "As soon as X (Nwankpa) and I walked in the fans cheered our name and got pics with us and all the good stuff. It just makes me feel good knowing I get love from Iowa City.
"It made me think long and hard about my decision."
Proctor reports scholarship offers from a who's who of top programs across the country, including Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas A&M and USC. Nwankpa has a Top 7 of Iowa, Arizona State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Ohio State, LSU and Texas A&M.
Class of 2024 receiver Cam Williams from Glen Ellyn (IL) Glenbard South High earned a Hawkeye scholarship offer at a camp here in June. He heard about the special Saturdays during the season. Experiencing one was something different.
"What I liked most about the visit was just seeing the atmosphere of Iowa City when it’s game day. Whether it was three hours before kickoff or the actual kickoff, the excitement and energy stayed throughout the day. Then, just the game itself, the dominating win over Indiana, was exciting to see as well," Williams told HN.
You can check out photos of recruits in attendance in our HN gallery HERE. The group included Hawkeye verbal commitments and several targets with Iowa offers, including '23 Waverly-Shell Rock Athlete Asa Newsom.
"It was really good being able to talk to the coaches again, and the atmosphere of the packed stadium was really cool to see," he told HN.
For the few prospects that had visited Kinnick in the past, it reaffirmed that it's one of the loudest venues in the sport. The guys making their first stop quickly felt the energy when the home team two scored two touchdowns in the game's opening two minutes.
"I liked most being able to get down on the field and really getting to feel the atmosphere of Kinnick Stadium," said '22 West Liberty (IA) High safety Jahsiah Galvan, who reports eight scholarship offers, including one from Nebraska.
"In terms of interest (from Iowa), it’s just been pretty much the same (as it's been), just keep working," he said.
Ankeny Centennial senior Athlete Trey Porter watched Jaguar alum Riley Moss deliver two Pick-6s for the Hawkeyes. Porter verbally committed to Northern Illinois in April but wanted to witness an Iowa game day.
"I was just checking things out for now. I wanted to see the atmosphere and another Ankeny Centennial athlete in Riley Moss. It was a fun experience and a great game. I am glad I got to experience it," he said.
Cedar Rapids (IA) Washington junior safety Watts McBride, who holds a Nebraska offer, relished the Kinnick environment and the fans' energy. He continued bonding with the Hawkeye staff.
"Iowa has told me they are interested in me and liked what I did in my sophomore season. They just want to continue to build a relationship with me and see me continue to get better and perform on Friday nights," he said.
Class of '22 tight end Brady McCullough from Ankeny (IA) High called the entire visit a great experience and said the Hawkeyes' "game-day atmosphere was electric."
McCullough reports scholarship offers from North Dakota, Northern Iowa and South Dakota State. Iowa is keeping tabs on him.
"They still want to see a couple of more games to further evaluate me," he told HN.