Rowell, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety from the Cleveland area, was once a verbal commit to West Virginia, but some things transpired over the course of the past several weeks that caused Rowell to rethink his decision.
"Some things just were not going right down there at West Virginia. I didn't really like how they handled the Chris Henry situation, because it just made me wonder if they might treat me like that one day. It sort of seemed like they don't even care about him anymore, since he doesn't play for them." Rowell said.
Henry entered the NFL draft earlier this month, though he had college eligibility remaining. To learn more about Henry's season at West Virginia, CLICK HERE
"I don't dislike anyone there at all, but they also told me that if I did not qualify, that I would have to ‘Prop' (Proposition 48, partial qualifier). I would have to pay $20,000 to go to school that first year, and we do not have that kind of money. My mother works two jobs right now as it is," said Rowell, who has yet to qualify.
"Iowa has told me that if I do not qualify, they can recommend a prep school. I feel that they are honest with me and are looking out for my best interests. I really don't want to take out loans if I don't have to."
Rowell is still optimistic about attaining the academic scores needed to qualify.
"I am making progress with my grades. Right now, I have a 2.4 and I think that is going to go up once I find out my final grades from the first semester. I am still going to take the test again in February, whether or not I get my GPA up or not, just to be safe.
Rowell visited Iowa the weekend of December 17th, and though he left that visit with West Virginia still in the lead, Iowa did leave a good impression on him.
"Iowa City is clean, it's a city…it may not be as urban as Cleveland is, but it's clean. I like to try new things. I am willing to take on another challenge and go to another state. Some people around here wonder why I would go to Iowa, but I am not the only one. BJ Travers and Trey Stross are going there this year, too," said Rowell, who claims a personal best of 4.38 in the forty-yard dash.
"Plus, the Iowa coaching staff is phenomenal and they are straight forward. They don't do anything but tell you the truth. Just like one of the analysts said when I was watching Iowa play against LSU, they said that these coaches at Iowa tell you the truth; not the things that you want to hear, but the truth.
"They tell you if they feel you can or can't play for Iowa; there is nothing in the middle. Honesty. Some coaches will tell you that you can go straight to the pros after a few years. Coach Ferentz didn't tell me that. Coach Ferentz told me that if I do my job, get on the field and play hard, then the NFL is up to me. It was not just honesty; it was a loyalty that they had with me. I like the academic aspects of Iowa and their student-learning center. And having Travers and Stross going there, that means I am not the only dude from Ohio leaving.
"It's going to be fun to take on another challenge…to play at a big school and compete against my home state school and have some fun."
In a December 20th report from the Scout.com network, Rowell's high school coach Delvin Culliver had this to say about his star safety:
"He's by far the best player I've ever coached," Culliver said. "Chris has all the intangibles that a Division 1 school is looking for. He's a natural hitter. He hits with his head up, which is how you teach it. He just naturally does all the good things that coaches like to see. He rolls his hips and drives his feet on tackles. And, of course, he can run."
To read the rest of the very descriptive and analytical report on Rowell from his coach, CLICK HERE
Rowell reportedly had more than 20 scholarship offers, including Michigan State, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Purdue and Maryland as early as late June.
Rowell finished 4th in the Division II 100-meter dash finals in Ohio last year with a time of 11.12 seconds (11.05 qualifier), and he qualified for the finals of the 200-meter dash with a time of 22.33. Rowell has run under 11.00 seconds in the 100-meters, and his 22.33 time in the preliminary heats last year would have been good for a third place finish in Iowa's Class 4A state meet.