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Hawkeyes Aim For Defense, Local Players In 2014 Class

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The state of Iowa is first and foremost in the Hawkeyes' 2014 recruiting class.

The six Iowans who'll sign letters of intent Wednesday will be the most for an Iowa class since 2009, when Iowa signed seven Iowa preps including Brett Van Sloten and Conor Boffeli, two starters on the Hawkeyes' offensive line this season.

It's not as easy as coach Kirk Ferentz throwing a scholarship offer into a prospect's mailbox. Iowa has to be careful with Iowa preps. The goal is to compete with Ohio State and not Wartburg. Homework is done. Video is reviewed. Critical questions are asked.

You'll know some of the names. Cedar Rapids Xavier defensive end Matt Nelson helped the Saints to a 12-2 record and an appearance in the Class 4A state finals. Union's Jay Scheel steered the Knights to the 2011 3A state title. Waukee offensive lineman Ross Reynolds may or may not sign with Iowa. He does have a scholarship offer, but the timing on when it begins– whether it's a full scholarship now or a grayshirt offer that kicks in January 2015 — was up in the air even early this week.

Reynolds received his offer before his official visit on Jan. 24 and committed shortly thereafter.

"My game improved quite a bit," said the 6-3, 290-pounder. "I kept working hard and tried to get my name out there so coaches could see me, but it was mostly hard work and it paid off."

Nearly every year, the state of Iowa will produce a few no-brainers. Cedar Falls offensive lineman Ross Pierschbacher, ranked the No. 2 player in the state by, was wanted by everyone. He committed to Iowa last January. He changed his mind a couple of times, but eventually took an offer from Alabama and will sign with Nick Saban's program this morning. Urbandale wide receiver Allen Lazard, Rivals' No. 1 Iowa prep, followed family ties to Iowa State.

Of Rivals top 10 Iowa preps, the Hawkeyes landed six: Scheel, Nelson, Reynolds, OL Lucas LeGrand, OL Keegan Render and LB Parker Hesse.

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