Iowa secured a strong 2011 recruiting class, but Hawkeyes were hoping to add a big name right before signing day: Cyrus Kouandijo.
The star offensive lineman from Maryland kept Iowa among his final group of schools before picking Auburn and eventually signing with Alabama. Although most media outlets seemed to discount Iowa in the final weeks, Kouandijo had serious interest in wearing Black and Gold.
He shed some light on his decision in a recent interview with the Sporting News:
Q: If you would have had to sign in early fall, who would you have gone with then?
A: At first I really, really, really wanted to go to Iowa. I even told my best friend that I was going to Iowa. But when everything went down with them with the workouts and all, that was different. I had a bad vibe when I went there. Alabama may be far from home, but Iowa—living-style wise—it’s just out there and just not me. I wouldn’t have been able to thrive in that environment. I love their coaches and I love their team, but it was really just out for me.
Kouandijo visited Iowa during the weekend between the three intense workouts that led to 13 Hawkeyes football players being hospitalized with rhabdomyolosis on Jan. 24-25.
Would a December visit to Iowa City have swayed him? I still doubt it. But it's interesting to hear how strongly he considered the Iowa program, which has a reputation for developing NFL-caliber offensive linemen.