Five players with Division I aspirations completed their Iowa Central Community College careers last weekend. Find out which one may be on the recruiting radar for Iowa State and get a closer look at the Triton program in this first in a series of updates spotlighting JUCO football in Iowa.
Iowa Central wrapped up its 2004 season with a 24-20 loss to William Rainey Harper College in Sunday’s Graphic Edge Bowl in Cedar Falls. The Tritons trailed 17-0 at one point before rallying for a 20-17 lead. But a special teams error in the fourth quarter turned the momentum back in Harper’s favorite and the junior college from Illinois escaped the UNI-Dome with a four-point win.
Head coach Kevin Twait completed his ninth season at Iowa Central, located in Fort Dodge, Iowa, with a 7-4 record. In the past eight seasons, 17 Triton players have gone on to the Division I-A level, including two that continued their careers at Iowa State. Fabian Dodd is a no. 2 offensive lineman as a junior this year for the Cyclones and another OL, Colin Menard, played two seasons at Iowa State.
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Another 27 prospects have gone from Iowa Central to the Division I-AA ranks and almost 70 more have moved up to receive scholarships from Division II or NAIA schools. Others have gone on to non-scholarship Division III.
Coach Twait has five players completing their eligibility at Iowa Central this year that he thinks will sign with Division I schools, including one that already has three I-A offers. Here’s a look at the top sophomores at Iowa Central and their potential opportunities at the next level.
Jake Cox, OL, 6-foot-5, 295 Pounds, Marengo (Iowa) Iowa Valley
Cox started every game in his two seasons at Iowa Central and was a pre-season second team NJCAA selection. He has scholarship offers from Kansas, Ball State and Buffalo and is receiving calls from Michigan State, Memphis, Kent, East Carolina and Arkansas State. In high school, Cox played for Iowa Valley in Marengo, Iowa, and led the team to the state semi-finals as a senior. He was an academic non-qualifier coming out of high school but will graduate in December with three years to play two seasons.
Walt Gilbert, CB, 6-foot-0, 170 Pounds, Milwaukee (Wisc.) Vincent
One Division I-A school is in touch with Gilbert by phone on a regular basis and it’s Iowa State. Gilbert said that Coach Chris Ash from the Cyclone staff has called him several times through the fall. Gilbert, who is originally from Louisiana and then moved to Milwaukee while in high school, originally signed with I-AA North Dakota State but did not qualify.
Most of the interest in Gilbert this time around is coming from I-AA schools, including NDSU again plus Stephen F. Austin, Youngstown State and Western Illinois. Gilbert was an all-region cornerback as a freshman. Gilbert will graduate in May with three years to play two seasons.
Deyontae Batiste, 6-foot-2, 330 Pounds, St. Martinville (La.)
This all-region defensive tackle from last year and potential All-American this season has one huge factor working against him: he’s only got one season of eligibility remaining. Bastiste began his collegiate career as a Prop 48 signee with Southern University in New Orleans. He eventually landed at Iowa Central and has only one calendar year (a spring practice and a season) left on his eligibility clock. He is scheduled to graduate in December with one to play one.
East Carolina is keeping tabs on Batiste from the I-A ranks with regular calls to Coach Twait. Batiste has offers and strong interest from several I-AA programs who are willing to plug him into their D-line for just one season. Batiste said he gets mail from Oklahoma, Iowa State and Memphis but none of those schools have called him.
Two other Triton players that Coach Twait looks for to go I-AA at worst are linebacker Dave Schratz and kicker Edgar Arceo. Schratz will play just one season at ICCC after transferring from I-AA Eastern Illinois, where he started as a true freshman in 2003. Schratz, originally from Garfield, N.J., is 6-foot-1 and 220 pounds. Arceo was the all-region kicker as a freshman in 2003 and the Muscatine, Iowa, product had another solid season in 2004.