When asked about getting a chance to play against Ohio State after committing to Iowa Wednesday, Ray Hamilton’s response should make all Hawkeye fans smile.
“It’s going to be fun, that’s all I have to say,” the 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end said. “Love it or leave it.”
The second part of the statement referred to a now-famous (in Hawkeye circles, anyway) quote delivered by Iowa QB and Ohio native Rick Stanzi after the Hawkeyes’ Orange Bowl victory in January. Stanzi was echoing a quote from a comedy movie when asked about America.
“Stanzi is a funny guy,” Hamilton said. “When I talked to him about it, he said he had no idea that it would get as much attention as it did. I thought it was hilarious.”
Hamilton, who hails from Strongsville High, chose the Hawkeyes ahead of a large group of scholarship offers that included Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan and Wisconsin. Scout.com ranked him as the 16th best tight end in the nation for the Class of 2011.
“I am absolutely committed to Iowa,” Hamilton said when asked if Ohio State might pry him away from the Hawkeyes by offering a scholarship. The Buckeyes received a commitment from Nick Varnett (rated 11th by Scout.com) on Wednesday.
Hamilton only played in six games as a junior as he suffered a right knee injury and had it scoped. Hamilton finished the season with 22 catches for 300 yards and one touchdown.
The people of Iowa sealed the deal for Hamilton he said.
“They’re just grounded and hard-nosed and hard-working,” he said. “I loved that the program is family oriented. I mean, I went there for spring practice and Adrian Clayborn and Rick Stanzi came up and told me how much they loved being a Hawkeye. It’s not like they stopped by as they were leaving, either. They made a point of coming up to me and talking.
“That’s definitely the type of place I want to be for four or five years.”
Hamilton said North Carolina, Florida State, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA were his finalists along with Iowa. He also passed on West Virginia, his father’s alma mater.
“I grew up going to games there and rooting for West Virginia,” Hamilton said. “But they run a different style of offense. I see myself fitting in better with the pro-style that Iowa runs. It’s the best for my position.
“Also, Iowa has the great business school. It was the total package for me.”