Well.....here’s a thing that happened this afternoon:
I am officially opening up my recruitment!— EB5™ (@eno_benjamin5) October 23, 2016
Thank you & God Bless pic.twitter.com/Q3qILK12ni
And just like that, arguably the best recruiting class Iowa has ever had under Kirk Ferentz begins to crumble.
Anyone who pays attention to Iowa football recruiting knows Eno. He’s a 4-star running back from Wylie, TX. His offer sheet is more impressive than most of the kids Iowa recruits, and it includes schools like Michigan, Baylor, Houston, Miami, Arizona and a handful of other major programs.
After announcing his commitment back in April Eno quickly became Iowa’s biggest spokesman on the recruiting trail by connecting with other targets on social media and helping to convince a number of them, like Chevin Calloway (more on that in a bit), to come join him in Iowa City.
Eno’s highlight reel makes him look like a video game character on easy difficulty setting. Off the field, he seems like a great personality, and exactly the kind of kid you want to cheer for every Saturday. Iowa fans were just as excited to see him on the field as he was to be a Hawkeye. Everything was perfect. So what happened? Did Iowa’s (hilariously predictable) inability to meet lofty expectations this season deter him? Well, it appears that Kirk Ferentz may have been the one to initiate the breakup:
Eno says IA wasn't happy with him taking visits & "couldn't get over it & they thought it was best to part ways." That's all there is to it"— Tyler Devine (@devine_tyler) October 23, 2016
This goes hand in hand with rumors circulating last week about Kirk Ferentz’s displeasure with Benjamin and Chevin Calloway continuing to take visits with other schools. Both recruits had cancelled a scheduled visit this weekend for the game against Wisconsin. While nothing is yet official, all signs seem to be pointing towards an imminent decommitment from Calloway as well.
Before you go into a tirade about how “ungrateful” and “selfish” Calloway and Benjamin are, or how “committing means something” and start sending distasteful tweets their way (FOR THE LOVE OF GOD PLEASE DON’T DO THAT), consider a few things:
- These are young kids who are trying to make the biggest decision of their lives so far.
- Now is the only time when they will hold all the cards. The NCAA has done a great job at making sure they won’t have any rights when they actually get to college.
- Kirk Ferentz made a commitment to them as well, and he was the one to turn his back.
- Unless you gave him the Heimlich maneuver in a restaurant or donated a kidney to his grandmother or something, Eno Benjamin doesn’t owe you a single damn thing.
- If this is the way Iowa treats their recruits, Eno probably deserves better anyway.
Just like the last 6 games Iowa has played, this entire situation has been a complete failure by the coaching staff. Kirk Ferentz is a man who is stuck in the past. I get that he resents the fact that recruits now expect to be treated like rock stars until their first day on campus. I too wish that by making a commitment, a recruit was completely shutting the door to everyone else. It would make things simpler, easier to digest.
But that isn’t the way the game is played, and if I was a major college football recruit, I wouldn’t want it played that way anyway. Not only has Kirk Ferentz failed to keep up with the times, but he is actively damaging his own football team in a pathetic attempt to keep things in line with his old ways. Kirk Ferentz has wronged Eno Benjamin. He wronged Chevin Calloway. He wronged you and me and the rest of the fans. He wronged Iowa.
Don’t be surprised if in the coming weeks we see more players stepping away from Iowa and reopening their recruitments. I hope you all enjoyed 12 wins and a Rose Bowl last year, because everything Iowa built from that success is about to crumble like a house of cards in the middle of a tornado on top of a burning pile of contract extensions.
As for Eno Benjamin, I really do wish you the best. Hopefully whatever school you land at will actually appreciate you. You were a Hawkeye for 6 months, and that’s probably 6 months more than we deserved. Godspeed, buddy.