Iowa CITY, Iowa - Iowa fans suffered through a 4-8 football season. West Des Moines Dowling Tight End Jon Wisnieski was among them.
"I've had a lot of people come up to me and just kind of tease me about the kind of year that they had," the 2013 Hawkeye commitment said. "It's not fun watching them go 4-8 but it just gives me that much more motivation to work harder."
Wisnieski joined a large group of Iowa verbals on their official visits this weekend. Eleven verbals planned to make the trip.
"It was alright just to get to know them and to see their faces," Detroit Cass Tech Safety Delano Hill said. "It helps to get to know them before you get there."
The recruiting clock has sped up. Of the Hawkeyes' 17 verbals (one grayshirt), 16 of them were in the fold by early August. That was a Kirk Ferentz Era high and this weekend's crowd was the biggest group of commitments taking official visits at the same time.
"I think we have a pretty good bond," Minnesota Cornerback Malik Rucker said of the '13 class. "It seems like we're always clicking. I know the people that I was with, we were all cool."
Coaches run the risk of experiencing more de-commitments. A positive would be the class members connecting earlier. Perhaps that can decrease player attrition, which has hurt the Hawkeyes in recent years.
"It was cool," Wisnieski said. "We talked a lot about how even though there were some disadvantages to having to commit early, I think it also really opened up that opportunity to get to know each other. I had a chance to talk to quite a few of them. It was cool because it was the first time I met a lot of them."
Iowa's '12 struggles test high school commitments as much as any fan. It increases their need to believe in the program without witnessing on-field success.
"What goes on inside of the program is what matters the most," Wisnieski said. "I know that they're still headed in the right direction. There are going to be some tough times. The important thing is bouncing back from those. I think that we'll be just fine."
Rucker feels like his class addresses some areas of need on the current Hawkeye roster.
"We feel that we have a little bit more attitude, especially the defensive recruits," the 6-foot, 175-pound pass defender said. "On offense, we're bringing in a lot of speed. We feel like we're going to be able to stretch the field.
"The future is bright."
A three-sport athlete, Wisnieski still is learning where all of his future teammates fit into the Hawkeyes' plan. He does sense a positive vibe with the group.
"I talked to those guys and they all seem pretty motivated to help out," Wisnieski said.
Here are some capsules on individual visits to be updated:
MALIK RUCKER, 6-0, 175, CB, MN
Host: Maurice Fleming
Thoughts on Visit - "It was a good experience. We got to hang out with some older guys and some freshmen. It was good to get an idea of what we're going to be doing for another four or five years."
What Coach Wilson Told Him - "He likes the way I have a lot of energy in how I play and how physical I am. He thinks that I fit in good at corner. There's a possibility that I can get a lot of playing time early, maybe my redshirt freshman year if I red shirt."
JON WISNIESKI, 6-5, 215, TE, IA
Host - Henry Krieger-Coble.
Thoughts on Visit - "It was more informative than some of the other visits. I got to see a couple of new places that I had never seen before. The big thing was just seeing the downtown area. I had never been to the Sheraton done there. I hadn't seen that part of Iowa City before. The city is a lot bigger and more complex than I really thought it was. I thought that was pretty cool. I also got to tour the rec center which is really nice. It just makes me that much more comfortable knowing that I believe I made the right decision."
On TE Coach David Raih - He's awesome. We were talking this weekend. He's a great guy. He's very passionate about what he does. He's very easy to talk to. I love him. I really do."
DELANO HILL, 6-1, 185, S
Host: Ruben Lile.
On Iowa's Cass Connection with Lile & Laron Taylor - "We're real close. They'll tell me what to do and what not to do (in college). They said that you have to adjust well to practice. You have meetings. It's going to be a long day. You have to come up with a (time-management) list and stick to it."
On What Wilson Told Him: "He said I might have a chance to play early."