Iowa football director of recruiting Tyler Barnes talks class of 2022

In a Zoom meeting with reporters Wednesday, Barnes spoke about Iowa football’s 2022 commits ahead of national signing day on Dec. 15.


Ryan Adams

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferenzt and members of the Iowa football team walk onto the field before a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, November 16, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 23-19.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

Iowa football recruiting coordinator Tyler Barnes is just weeks away from signing the Hawkeyes’ 2022 class on Dec. 15.

Barnes said it could be the smallest recruiting class in the Kirk Ferentz era.

“We’re sitting at 11 commits right now,” Barnes said of his 2022 class. “I feel good about where we’re at. As you all know, we’ve got an extremely small senior class — just 13 scholarship seniors on our roster this year. So, we’re expecting probably one of the smallest signing classes in coach Ferentz’s tenure here.”

The Hawkeyes currently have 10 three-star commits and one four-star, according to 24/7 Sports. Barnes said he is looking to lock down about five or six more recruits before signing day to round out a class of 16 to 18 players in the 2022 class.

Iowa currently has three wide receivers and two offensive linemen, defensive linemen, and running backs. The Hawkeyes also have one quarterback and one linebacker joining the 2022 class.

But the Hawkeyes are in desperate need of cornerback commits. Current cornerbacks Riley Moss, Matt Hankins, and Xavior Williams are seniors. Their departures could leave Iowa football with just two dedicated cornerbacks — Terry Roberts and Jermari Harris — for the 2022 season.

“We’re still looking at a couple of corners, maybe three,” Barnes said. “It’s certainly a huge need. We didn’t take one in the last class, we don’t have a commit in this class, and obviously we’re going to lose a couple of guys this year, so that’s probably the most pressing need left in the ‘22 class.”

Barnes added that his staff is also looking for a couple more offensive or defensive linemen, but the focus is at cornerback.

But Moss, a fourth-year senior, could return for a fifth year in 2022. The NCAA gave all 2020-21 student-athletes a free year of eligibility because of COVID-19. Williams and Hankins are currently in their fifth year of eligibility on the Hawkeye squad and cannot return in 2022.

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Barnes said he isn’t sure how many players, if any, are going to take advantage of the free year of eligibility. But he said the Hawkeye football program would welcome any player that decides to come back with open arms.

“It’s tough,” Barnes said. “If we have six or seven spots that we have left, and we know in most years we can go out and fill those spots, you’re okay with it. Well, this year, we may have three guys on our roster that may come back. They may be 50-50 right now. During the season, we’re certainly not going to press those guys for answers, that’s the last thing we want them to worry about.”

Barnes added that some guys are homing in on decisions, but nothing will be confirmed until the season is over.

Iowa football had a record number of recruits on campus on Oct. 9 as then-No. 3 Iowa took on then-No. 4 Penn State at Kinnick Stadium. Twenty-three possible football recruits filed into the stadium to watch the Hawkeyes take down the Nittany Lions, 23-20.

Since then, Iowa has plummeted from a No. 2 ranking in the AP Poll on Oct. 10 to No. 19 on Oct. 31 after two consecutive losses against unranked Purdue and Wisconsin.

But Barnes said Iowa football’s recruits and commits haven’t wavered in the two-game skid.

“A lot of kids, winning is important to them, but they’re not going to dump teams for one loss or two,” Barnes said. “Luckily, for our recruits, they don’t react the same way some of our fans do. They stick with us through this and don’t get too mad.”

Barnes added that momentum is everything during the recruiting process. The Hawkeyes gained a lot of momentum from the Penn State game, he said, and some recruits that originally moved on came back to Iowa City to watch the Hawkeyes face the Nittany Lions.

But in the losing streak, Barnes said he focuses on the long-term success of the program. In particular, he focuses on Iowa’s staff stability under Ferentz’s 23-year tenure as head coach.

“It’s tough, we haven’t won a football game in three weeks, it seems like forever,” Barnes said. “Really, I just point to our program’s success. What we’ve been able to do over the past three years, over the past seven years… the run we’ve been on is impressive, no matter how you look at it.”