The Iowa Hawkeyes could not have enjoyed a weekend much more when looking at their results on the field and in recruiting. Iowa added their ninth known commitment in Paul Chaney, a quarterback at University High School in St. Louis, Mo. who is projected to play wide receiver at Iowa.
"When looking at Iowa, the great atmosphere, fan support, college town and just the program overrall, makes it’s a great situation to be in," Chaney said. "When we met with Coach (Kirk) Ferentz, my mother actually was the one to tell him I was committing. My parents had wanted me to take a few visits, but after talking with them last night, they knew Iowa was a good situation. All of the coaches were extremely happy to hear I was committed."
As always, Coach Ferentz played a huge role in the commitment of Chaney.
"The number one reason I chose Iowa is because of Coach Ferentz," added Chaney, who was hosted by both Kalvin Bailey and Herb Grigsby. "Friday night, I stayed with the team at the Crown Plaza in Cedar Rapids and he came into my hotel room to have a one on one conversation with me. He is just so genuine and shoots it straight from the hip. From my travels to other schools and just from making visits, Coach Ferentz is so different than the rest because he doesn't let success affect him and all of sudden act as if he can't be touched. He proved to me that he believes in my abilities and wanted to give me a chance, and now I hope to make the best of the situation."
It was not only a chance for Chaney, but actually his first scholarship offer to play football, which came his way two weeks ago. Nebraska expressed interest but had yet to offer.
"Coach (Eric) Johnson had been calling me every week since the beginning of the fall, but just offered me two weeks ago after they saw my film since my season had ended. He said they really liked my speed, felt I had good hips with my ability to make people miss and Coach Johnson basically told me they didn't have a guy like me on their roster. He said that I am a playmaker who has a chance to take the whole distance every time the ball touches my hand," stated Chaney.
While his hips were pointed out as a strength of his game, Chaney only played one game at cornerback this season; the finale against Vianney. He focused primarily at the quarterback position for University HS, which ended its season at 8-2.
Paul's father, Paul, Sr., recently returned from a year away in Afghanistan in his role as a "Major" with the National Guard.
"My father kept showing up with a piece of paper that had a list of questions for Coach Johnson. He forgot the list, though, when we had breakfast this morning, and Coach Johnson told him he hoped that he made sure he always had his list of things to do while in Afghanistan. That drew a pretty big laugh out all of us as Coach Johnson is a goofy guy. He was cracking jokes all weekend," stated Chaney.
When Chaney arrived on Friday night, he went to dinner with Coach Johnson, Coach (Lester) Erb, Coach (Jon) McLaughlin and the track coaches from the University of Iowa.
"I wanted to make sure that I could play football and run track while at Iowa and they assured me that I can," added Chaney, who held offers from the likes of Wisconsin, Ohio State, Texas Tech, and Nebraska in track. "Really, after that question was answered, we just talked about anything that came to mind. It was great just to talk with the coaches to get know everyone better."
Chaney, who stands at 5-8 and weighs 165 pounds, can flat out run; he was the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s 2005 boys track athlete of the year. He set a new state record in the 200-meter dash with a time of 21.1 and was also clocked, albeit wind-aided, at 10.1 in the 100-meter dash. He did run an accepted time of 10.4 at his conference meet, setting a new league record.
He won the 100-meter state title with a time of 10.52 and the 200 with a time of 21.25. He also placed third in the 400, filling in as his team needed him, with a time under 49 seconds.
After the dinner, Chaney sat in meetings with the entire Hawkeye offense, which he also enjoyed due to its loose atmosphere.
"It was great to see how the entire offense was together in its meetings as one message got across to everybody rather than just individual groups. It was really one big family, and it was calm enough where people could crack a few jokes and stay loose. Don't get me wrong, everyone was focused on the task at hand, but that is what makes being a Hawkeye so great is that everyone just gets along so well."
Chaney also spoke about his experience after the game when he was able to enter the locker room to help celebrate the victory with coaches and players.
"They brought the pig in and then everyone just started singing the fight song," noted Chaney, who will also be given a look on return units. "Coach Ferentz told the team to stay humble and that he was glad they listened to what he said before the game and came out firing. Everyone was happy about the victory, but it was still just one game, and they acted like they've been there before."
Chaney continued with his respect of Ferentz, as he feels there couldn't be a more humble man.
"I can understand why he told the team to stay humble because he is just so humble. Even on the sidelines, he was real steady no matter how good or bad things went. I am a lot like him as I don't get too up or too down."
After the game, Chaney once again went to dinner with Coach Johnson, Coach Erb and Coach McLaughlin, but this time was joined by Hawkeye wide receiver Herb Grigsby and his family.
"Coach Erb had told me that I'd probably start out in the slot, and be used a lot like Herb is used," said Chaney, who on the season was given the opportunity catch the ball on two different occasions resulting in 72 yards. "It was great to be able to talk with Herb and his family about the experiences of being a Hawkeye and Herb just expressed to me that Iowa was a good place to play football. He also told me that I have to make sure to remain focused as it can be hard to manage your time."
From his quarterback position, Chaney completed 44 of 88 pass attempts for 568 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. He also rushed for 688 yards and 12 touchdowns on 141 carries. As a returner, Chaney returned four kicks for 56 yards. In his only game playing cornerback, he recorded six tackles (five solo).
Before he left town, and since he was a Hawkeye, he had one stop to make.
"We made a stop in Iowa City so that I could pick up a shirt to wear to school. I also picked up a few sweatshirts and a hat. It's going to be good to show off," concluded Chaney.
Chaney is fully qualified with a 2.5 GPA and 20 on the ACT.
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