Hawkeyes Grab Juco WR; Iowa Central Kicker To Walk On

By Marc Morehouse, Reporter

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Kirk Ferentz was asked last month about recruiting junior colleges. He said the Hawkeyes were looking.

Today, the Hawkeyes did some finding.

Snow College (Ephraim, Utah) wide receiver Damond Powell committed to the Hawkeyes on Sunday afternoon, he announced on his Twitter account. Powell, who'll have three years to play two, will report to Iowa City in June. Last season for Snow, he Powell led the Badgers with 1,231 receiving yards and finished No. 1 in the nation with 30.0 yards on 41 receptions. He earned first-team Western States Football League for Snow College (10-1, 8-0).

Powell caught three passes for 150 yards, including a 75-yard TD reception, in the Badgers' 47-21 victory over ASA College in the Carrier Dome Bowl. Snow finished the season ranked No. 3 in the NJCAA.

Iowa offered on Sunday. Powell (5-11, 175 pounds) accepted, with Ohio being his only other offer. According to HawkeyeReport.com, Iowa coaches told Powell he'd have a chance to play next season. Wide receiver is a need position for the Hawkeyes. Junior Kevonte Martin-Manley led the Hawkeyes with 52 catches for 571 yards and two TDs. After Martin-Manley, Iowa's next wide receiver was senior Jordan Cotton, who caught 12 passes for 172 yards and a TD. After Cotton, sophomore Tevaun Smith came in the three catches for 31 yards.

Powell was top five in national juco stats in yards per catch (30.0, No. 1), receiving yards (1,231, No. 3), touchdowns (14, No. 3) and yards per game (102.6, 4th).

Powell is the 16th pickup for Iowa's 2013 recruiting class and fourth potential wide receiver, joining Derrick Willies, Derrick Mitchell Jr. and Andre Harris.

The national signing period begins Feb. 6.

IOWA CENTRAL KICKER TO WALK ON:

Buried under the "Iowa grabs juco WR" headline was Alden Haffar's arrival.

Haffar is a kicker who made 6 of 8 field goals with a long of 51 last season at Iowa Central Community College. According to HawkeyeReport.com, Haffar will transfer in January and is going to jump right into the kicker competition. He does have three years to play two, so he also could redshirt this season with senior Mike Meyer carrying the job.

"They [Iowa coaches] said the best man is going to play," Haffar told HawkeyeReport.com. "They think I can compete with the two kickers they have now, Mike Meyer and Marshall Koehn, and if I can beat them, I'll be the starter and be put on scholarship."

Meyer was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist and earned honorable mention all-Big Ten. Meyer made 17 of 21 field goals and finished third in the Big Ten with an 81.0 percentage. He made 5 of 8 from 40-plus and was automatic on the chips shots, hitting 10 of 10 from 20 yards to 29.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz spoke of Meyers as one of the Hawkeyes most improved players. No argument on that here.

"Most likely I'm going to redshirt this year and then I'll have two years to play," Haffar said. "I'm not 100% sure though because I know they are really looking for a guy that can put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs and that's one of my strengths. At Iowa Central this year, I had 33 of 47 in the end zone for touchbacks."

OK, kickoffs could be an opportunity. Meyer had a career-high 21 touchbacks last season. That was ninth in the Big Ten and 71st nationally. Ferentz's preference is put kickoffs in the end zone, no returns.

Haffar, a West Des Moines Valley grad, will be a preffered walk-on, meaning he will have a spot on the 105-man roster when fall camp begins in August. Iowa has had three kickers in camp consistently since 2009.
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