April 25, 2012

Iowa gets a good one in Gressel

According to Ron Ullery, head coach at Centerville High School in Ohio, the Hawkeyes have landed the total package in defensive tackle Brant Gressel. On the field, Ullery raves about Gressel's physical play and motor. Off the field he praises his humble approach to life and says he is an outstanding student.

Q: Talk about Brant Gressel as a player.

ULLERY: He is an extremely physical player. He's very strong and gets off the ball really well. He used to play offensive line, so he can get off the ball quickly and uses his hands really well. He has a great motor and plays hard on every snap.

Q: You have seen Iowa play over the years; does he fit what Iowa does on the defensive line?

ULLERY: I've been an Ohio State fan all of my life, so that makes me a Big Ten fan and I've always admired the University of Iowa and what they do. I have always liked what schools like Iowa and Wisconsin do and how they play the game. They like to win games up front and play old fashion blue collar football. That's Brant. One of the things that he said he liked on his visit to Iowa was that he felt he would fit in really well at Iowa. He felt like a lot of what we try to do here are the same things Iowa tries to do, win games up front and how they approach the game. Iowa isn't getting a fancy kid who likes all the frills. He's a blue collar kid who loves to play the game.

Q: Brian Ferentz is new to the Iowa staff and has been involved in Brant's recruitment. What have your interactions been like with him?

ULLERY: It's been very positive from Brant, myself, and his parents. He's a really honest and trustworthy guy and that is very refreshing. You don't have to read between the lines with him. If I ask him a question, he is very honest with me. Brant is really impressed with him and the entire coaching staff.

Q: What were some of the thoughts he shared with you following his visit that led to him making his decision?

ULLERY: Brant loved the school. He is a very good student and has a 3.7 GPA taking honors classes. He wants to go into Engineering and he knows about the players at Iowa that have had success in that field. That's a difficult route and a lot of schools kind of discourage anyone doing that because it is tough to do both football and engineering. He loved the school, the facilities, and the people. The only potential negative was that Iowa is eight hours away, but he talked it over with his parents and they realize he is going to play a lot of games in the Big Ten closer to home.

Q: How tough will it be for a lifelong Ohio State fan to watch one of his kids play against the Buckeyes?

ULLERY: (laugh) Not difficult at all. I'll still be rooting for Ohio State. We have kids at Michigan State, Indiana, and Illinois. We have sent kids everywhere because they can't all go to Ohio State. I will be rooting for Brant to make 25 tackles and have five sacks, but for Ohio State to win. (laugh)

Q: Talk about how he approached this recruiting process. It seems like prospects are making decisions much earlier these days, which is very different than it was five or ten years ago.

ULLERY: It is very different these days and Brant handled it really well. He is a very humble kid and when he started getting all this attention, it was very surprising to him. He wasn't sure he was going to get any offers, but that's just the type of kid that he is. When the offers starting coming in it was pretty overwhelming to him. He found some schools he felt comfortable with and narrowed his list of schools and made those visits. He went to Iowa and felt like he wasn't going to find a better fit anywhere than he found at Iowa. That's why he made his decision now.

Q: Has Ohio State shown any interest?

ULLERY: They are in a unique situation right now because they lost some scholarships for the next few years, so they have to be very specific. They really haven't been recruiting him and I don't anticipate they will. That's not an indication on the type of player that Brant is, but more that they are limited in their scholarships.


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