A sophomore, Riley McMinn was running at safety during a football practice. The odds of him sticking there were long.
“We had a pretty good safety and I knew I probably wasn’t going to pass him,” McMinn said. “The coach called me over and said they needed someone at defensive end. I moved up there and knocked around the quarterback and running back a little bit.”
McMinn found a position he could call home. This weekend, he located a college to call home.
The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Illinois prep product became the 10th known verbal commitment in Iowa’s 2011 Class. The Rochester High standout chose the Hawkeye ahead of Boston College.
“All the category check marks ended up on Iowa’s side,” McMinn said. “The last few weeks, my parents and I sat down and went over it. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with Boston College or the other schools. Iowa just came out on top.”
McMinn liked that Iowa City sits only three hours from his home.
“It’s also a very stable coaching staff,” he said. “They’re good people with a Midwest work ethic. They play football the right way. They line up and play hard-nosed football.”
Iowa also offered the double major McMinn hopes to study - broadcast journalism and entrepreneurial business.
“I wanted to commit before my season, sometime in early August,” McMinn said. “It just turned out happening early because it felt right. If it feels right, why wait?”
Scout.com ranks McMinn as the 77th best defensive end in the 2011 class. The services tabs him as a three-star recruit on a five-star scale.
McMinn said he’s been told by Iowa Strength Coach Chris Doyle that putting on the necessary weight to play DE in college will not be a problem.
“He said he’d fill me out with the proper diet and intense lifting,” McMinn said. “I really like Coach Doyle. He’s different than most strength coaches I’ve met with. He breaks down each player individually and finds what works best for him.”
Lester Erb guided Iowa’s recruitment of McMinn.
“He started really early on me. It was really early on in the process,” McMinn said. “He and I talked about it the whole way through. They finally came through with the offer in early June and I visited at the end of the month.”
Like most prospects on their visits, McMinn met with Head Coach Kirk Ferentz at the end of the trip.
“My parents and I sat down with him and he was just great,” McMinn said. “He’s a fatherly figure. I liked that.”
McMinn held offers from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Illinois State, Central Michigan, SMU, Memphis, Indiana, Kansas and Boston College. Iowa, Kansas and Boston College made his final three.
Illinois pursued its home state product very hard. McGinn’s call to the Illini staff was not an easy one.
“I called Coach (Dan) Disch (Sunday) night,” McMinn said. “He was disappointed. I told him that I have the utmost respect for them and I know they’re going to get it turned around.”
McMinn joins John Raymon as the only other known 2011 verbal to project on the defensive side of the ball. The Hawkeyes have eight on offense.