Everybody wanted this young man to come to their university and play college football. He narrowed his choices down to three: Iowa, Notre Dame, and Ohio State. The 5-star recruit from Southeast Polk in Pleasant Hill, Iowa would never stay home and play for Iowa, right? Wrong.

Today is Xavier Nwankpa's 18th birthday. That made for the perfect day for the prized recruit to announce his college choice. After a slight fake out toward the Buckeyes cap, he excitedly grabbed the black and gold of Iowa. The place went wild. Then he explained why he believed Iowa was the place for him.

Just how big was this for the Iowa football program? The Athletic called today's commitment by Xavier Nwankpa "one of its biggest commitments ever."

Nwankpa was the top safety recruit in the nation, according to Rivals, who has him rated the 20th overall prospect in the 2022 class. Iowa defensive coordinator Phil Parker and head Hawk Kirk Ferentz have to be thrilled at this get.  Also a dangerous return man, Rivals says Nwankpa is the "highest rated in-state prospect that Iowa has ever signed, and the second highest rated overall."

Rivals' glowing review of Nwankpa includes this:

has an NFL frame which still has plenty of room for growth, and should flourish in the Iowa weight program. He has great speed, is extremely efficient in all of his movements, shows great range, and is physical to boot. Along with being an elite safety, Nwankpa also has next level ability as a return man. He is extremely impressive with the ball in his hands, and one could argue that Nwankpa has a skill-set that makes him a future NFL prospect on both sides of the ball.

When Nwankpa, 6-3 190-pounds, signs his national letter of intent he will become the first in-state 5-star signee for Iowa in 20 years. The last was Blake Larsen in 2001. Iowa's last 5-star player overall was A.J. Epenesa, a 2017 recruit who now plays for the Buffalo Bills in the NFL.

Southeast Polk has another 5-star recruit. Kadyn Proctor is a junior offensive tackle who's also getting college offers from virtually everywhere. According to 247 Sports, he has offers from over 30 schools, including both Iowa and Iowa State.

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