Aside from the college-ready defensive linemen, the group that impressed Gary Swenson most during his up-close view of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl might have been the polished quarterbacks.
The longtime leader of the Valley Tigers served as the running backs coach for the East squad last week during the showcase of high school football stars, but tailbacks tend to play a supporting role in pass-heavy all-star games.
“Five of the six (quarterbacks) in the game were from California (or Florida) and they’ve played so much outdoor, year-round 7-on-7 and their concepts and fundamentals are so good,” Swenson said.
“That’s the difference between the Iowa kids at that position and those kids. They never flush, they stay in the pocket and their eyes are always downfield. They know right where to go with the ball.”
Swenson has made no secret of the fact he’s a fan of Iowa recruit Ryan Boyle, the Dowling Catholic quarterback Valley had to deal with throughout the past four seasons.
“I think Boyle could’ve fit right in on the roster with the other quarterbacks,” Swenson said of a collection of decorated signal callers bound for USC, Oregon, Ohio State, Missouri and Arizona State.
“Physically, and from a leadership standpoint and an arm-strength standpoint, Ryan Boyle would’ve been right there with any of them, I think.”
Swenson might have one of his own in next year’s Army All-American Bowl. Valley junior offensive lineman John Raridon, a Nebraska commit, is ranked the third-best guard prospect in the 2016 class by Rivals.com.
After seeing Raridon on a daily basis during the past three years and checking out the top blockers in the 2015 class, Swenson said his prized junior is “as good as what’s out there.”
“He’s not 6-7 like a lot of those kids,” he said. “But he’s going to be a solid Division I lineman.”
Perhaps more good news for Raridon: He might not have to deal with the defensive linemen who turned Swenson’s head in San Antonio. Of the 16 defensive linemen on the Army All-American Bowl rosters, only one — Ohio State recruit Dre’Mont Jones — is committed to a Big Ten program.
“The players down there that I was most eye-opened by were the defensive linemen,” Swenson said. “Those cats are all big right now. They’re not developmental guys, and the speed in which they get off the ball at that size is really impressive.”
Dowling Catholic quarterback Ryan Boyle makes a quick change of direction in a game on Sept. 5, 2014.
Decisions: Trevor Allen’s college choice might essentially boil down to whether he wants to play with his brother or against him.
The Waukee all-state running back said his list is down to two schools: Northern Iowa and North Dakota State.
Allen’s father Andre starred for the Panthers and Trevor’s brother, A.J., is a freshman linebacker at Northern Iowa.
On the other hand, North Dakota State is aiming for its fourth straight FCS title Saturday. The Bison are 14-1 this season. They had a 33-game winning streak snapped earlier this season at Northern Iowa.
The two schools are scheduled to clash again Oct. 10 in the Fargodome.
“It’s in the back of my mind,” said Allen, who is scheduled to visit Northern Iowa this weekend and North Dakota State later this month. “It would be great to play with my brother again, but it would be fun to play against him.”
Offers: Wisconsin prep linebacker Jake Whalen announced Thursday on Twitter that he picked up an offer from Iowa. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound senior also has offers from Air Force, Army, Buffalo, Northern Iowa and several other FCS programs, according to Rivals.com.
Iowa State commit Denver Johnson tweeted earlier in the week that he picked up an offer from Utah State. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound receiver from Oklahoma City is scheduled to visit Ames next weekend, according to Rivals.com.