The Iowa football program organized a (legal) recruiting event for the first time ever during the past weekend. It was highlighted by a barbecue that wrapped up the occasion on Sunday.
"I met some of the commits that were there that I bonded with," 2014 Cedar Falls (Iowa) Offensive tackle Ross Pierschbacher said. "That was very cool."
Programs still are trying to pick up a commitment from Pierschbacher. He holds scholarship offers from Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, Northern Iowa and Wisconsin. Oklahoma, Stanford and Michigan are interested.
Pierschbacher turned down an invitation to attend the Wolverines' barbecue to be at Iowa's cookout which landed on the same weekend. He also began training camp with the Tigers on Tuesday and a ride to Ann Arbor may have been too much.
Rachid Ibrahim, an uncommitted '13 prospect from Maryland, joined Pierschbacher at the Iowa event, which took place on the Kinnick Stadium field Sunday afternoon.
"The barbecue was a lot of fun," Ibrahim said. "I got a lot of time to spend with the coaches and their families and also some of the players and recruits that were committed. It was a wonderful experience."
Ibrahim also said that he was down to three schools (Iowa is one) and hoped to decide on a destination within the next 1-2 weeks.
Indianapolis Pike receiver Dominique Booth took Iowa up on its invitation (again, legal). He rode to Iowa City with '13 Hawkeye verbals David Kenney (Pike) and John Kenny (Carmel High in IN).
Running back Jeffrey Jones, a top '14 player nationally, drove to Iowa with fellow Minnesotan Malik Rucker, a '13 Iowa verbal. Jones was impressed enough with his visit to plan a return trip to Iowa City on Oct. 20 for the Hawkeyes night game against Penn State.
For Rucker, who won't sign a national letter of intent until February of '13, the barbecue gave him a chance to bond with future class members like Kenney, Kenny and others.
"It was good for me," Rucker told Scout.com, "It gave me a chance to meet the other commits and for us to meet each other face to face. We've been talking on Twitter and Facebook and stuff, but it was good to be around them to see what it will be like for the next four or five years, so that was good for me."
Matthew VandeBerg was offered a gray-shirt opportunity to Iowa in the '13 class. He was surprised that this was Iowa's first barbecue.
"I thought it was a great experience," he said. "It was the first time they've done it. I definitely think they should continue to do it."
Vandeberg said that he found the panel of current Iowa players to be most helpful to him as a recruit.
"You can ask them questions about the college," he said. "They didn't pull any punches. Granted, they didn't have too many bad things to say, but I think that was the best part.
"That way we know exactly what we're getting ourselves into. It's one thing to hear it from the coaches. They're trying to get you there. But the players will give you the real perceptions on how college life is."
Some of the Iowa recruits, verbally committed and uncommitted, got themselves together on Saturday night, Vandeberg said.
"There were things that we went to the night before (the barbecue) that we paid for," he said. "We (the recruits) got together at Buffalo Wild Wings. There definitely was time to mingle. You also could do that at the barbecue. There was plenty of time for that."
The barbecue was attended by Iowa coaches and families, current Hawkeyes, recruits and their families.