The mass appeal of the Big Red has lured many high school football stars to the home state college in Nebraska. Fortunately for programs like Iowa, the Cornhuskers haven't won all the recruiting battles.
Shaun Prater dreamed of hitting it big outside the boarders. That was why he chose to accept a scholarship from the Hawkeyes despite being pressed by the Nebraska coaching staff to stay home.
"I wanted to get away," the Omaha Central defensive back said. "I wanted to show people that I could make it for myself."
Shaun will be joined by his twin brother, Shane, in Iowa City. The latter plays wide receiver.
Shane planned on arriving in Iowa City on June 8 while Shaun will not be on campus until July 6. Shaun was unable to enroll in the summer school program because his core GPA was not high enough. He is qualified for the fall semester.
Shaun could get an opportunity to play as a true freshman. Coach Kirk Ferentz is saying that cornerback is a position where first-year players are going to get a hard look.
"Wherever I chose to play I was coming in and trying to play (right away)," Prater said. "That's my goal, to play my freshman year, definitely."
Scout.com ranks Prater as a three-star player on a five-star scale. He is their 72nd rated corner in the 2008 class.
As a senior, Prater scored on two of his 10 catches, which totaled 207 yards. He also intercepted five passes, rolled up 83 tackles (66 solo), and recovered two fumbles. He accumulated 65 tackles, five pass break ups, three sacks, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles as a junior.
"I'm a very smart, fast and physical corner or defensive player, period," said Prater, who reports an electronic 40-yard dash time in the high 4.4-second range.
Prater said that the Iowa coaches are saying they'll try him at corner and safety. With the lack of depth at corner, he's likely to get his first look there.
By the time he was a prep senior, Prater's reputation preceded him. Teams shied away from throwing his way.
"I only got the ball thrown my way maybe once or twice a game," he said. "The transition to the college game will be my cover skills. They're going to throw it at me more. I'll have to be aware of the ball."
Prater will be behind some of the other true freshmen when he arrives in July. A lot of guys will be coming to town on June 1.
"I'll have to catch up with the plays and I'll miss some important weight lifting," he said.
The good news is that Prater seems familiar with Iowa's defense.
"It's a lot like the one we played in high school," he said "We played a lot of Cover-2, Cover-3, Cover-1. Sometimes we'd have a guy playing zone coverage on the other side and man on my side."
Prater – who also had offers from Iowa State and Ohio – will be working out five times a week at a local physical training facility as he waits for his move to Iowa.
"We practice one-on-ones, catching balls, foot work, all kinds of football drills," he said.
Iowa hopes it lands more key contributors from Nebraska in the Prater brothers. Seth Olsen and Jeff Tarpinian are projected starters on this year's team. Guys like Adam Shada and Larry Station are remembered for their play during successful Hawkeye years.
The Hawkeyes held off a late charge by Nebraska, who was trying to pry the Praters away from Iowa at the last minute. The brothers took a visit to Lincoln out of respect for their home-state school, Shaun said, but stuck with their original commitment.
"Once I committed to Iowa it was a done deal," Prater said. "When Nebraska tried to talk to me and get me to come to the school, it didn't change my mind whatsoever. It was a pretty easy process for me."
Despite pressure from the state school to stay home, Nebraska prep Shaun Prater decided Iowa was the best place for him. The cornerback from Omaha is hoping to break into the Hawkeye lineup as a true freshman. Read what the incoming recruit has to say about his goals for this upcoming season and how prepared he is to meet them in this HN.com premium update.