Daumantas Venckus viewed himself as a tight end for most of his football life. Then, he grew..and grew...and grew.
The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder moved to defensive end and has made life difficult on opposing quarterbacks. He also parlayed the switch into college scholarship offers.
The Class of 2012 product from Cypress Bay High in South Florida accepted an offer from Iowa on Wednesday. His commitment came a day after Fort Lauderdale receiver, Greg Mabin, verballed to the Hawkeyes.
"They offered me about a week ago," Venckus said. "Just a few days ago, I got the final letter, the official. They've been talking to me for maybe the last three or four weeks."
Venckus, whose first name is pronounced Daw-man-tas, is believed to be the 12th verbal commitment in Iowa's 2012 recruiting class. Head Coach Kirk Ferentz says that the Hawkeyes are looking at a number in the high teens for the group.
Venckus was connected to the program because of his long friendship with current freshman Jake Rudock, from Fort Lauderdale. That bond played a role in the defensive end's committment to the Hawkeyes, he said.
"We all live in the same area," Venckus said. "We've been friends since we were little. We'd go out to the field and he'd throw to me. At that time I was trying to make it as a tight end, back when I was 150 pounds. He's a really nice guy and we became good friends."
Venckus, who is undecided on his major, plays for a very good 6-A program in Florida. He could have waited for more scholarship offers, but he decided the time was right to make his choice.
"It's a big opportunity to play for a BCS school," Venckus said. "I looked at the school on-line and what the roster looked like; how the school is doing acacemically. I really liked it.
"I was leaning towards committing anyway, but I just kind of wanted to get it out of the way now so I can focus on the rest of my season. We're trying to win state."
Venckus committed to Iowa without having visited Iowa City. He planned to take an official after his prep season concludes.
"I'm not concerned about not having see it up there," Venckus said. "It's not really about what the place is like; the weather or the area. It's more about the opportunity and this is a great opportunity.
"From what I've heard from everyone that has been there, it's a really nice area. It's a nice place with nice people. I'm not too worried about that."
Venckus said he has 11 sacks, about 70 tackles, a 67-yard interception return for a touchdown, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles through seven games this season.
"I'm a player that just keeps running after the ball with relentless effort," he said. "I try to play as technically sound as I can. I love getting after the quarterback. I also try to make plays down the field; just keep going after it."