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Iowa loses top OL recruit to Alabama

The season is still a couple of weeks away, but Iowa has already lost a major battle to the SEC.

One-time Hawkeyes commitment Ross Pierschbacher, whom ESPN.com rates as the No. 1 offensive guard in the Class of 2014, flipped his pledge to Alabama on Sunday.

He committed to Iowa in January but had been looking around, taking trips to both Alabama and Stanford. It's somewhat reminiscent of when the Hawkeyes were in the running for top offensive tackle prospect Cyrus Kouandjio in 2011, only to see him commit to Auburn and eventually wind up at Alabama. But this one hurts even more since Pierschbacher is from Cedar Falls, Iowa.

Kirk Ferentz has shown a great ability to develop offensive linemen into NFL players during his tenure in Iowa City. But his team is also coming off a 4-8 season, while the Crimson Tide has won three of the past four national titles.

There is still a lot of time between now and signing day in February, so perhaps Ferentz and his staff can flip Pierschbacher once again. For now, though, it's disappointing news for Hawkeyes fans.