August 27, 2009

Coaching ties pay off for Iowa

DeMatha Head Coach Bill McGregor has some strong ties to the Iowa coaching staff. Those ties helped Iowa land running back Marcus Coker as a verbal commitment this week. McGregor talks about his ties to offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe and Coach Kirk Ferentz, how Iowa got involved with Coker, what kid a player and person the Hawkeyes are getting, plus if Iowa could be in the running for a couple of his other prospect that they have offered.

Q: Talk about Marcus Coker as a player.

McGREGOR: Marcus is an outstanding football player and has been for the past two years. He made the varsity as a sophomore and played some for us. He had a great year for us last year running for 1,400 yards and scored 16 touchdowns. He is a big back who stands about 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds. He is a strong back. He came into camp and benched 185 pounds 39 times, so he is probably about a 350 or 375 pound bench, which is very strong for his age.

He is an extremely hard worker who is very well conditioned. Football means an awful lot to him and if he continues to work at it, he can be really good. Academically, he is a very good student with a 3.3 GPA. We have a six period day here and everything is college prep and in his free period, he comes up to outside my office and studies. He is there every day.

Q: He seems to be a real quality kid off the field as well.

McGREGOR: Absolutely. As a sophomore, he really believed in being in shape. He lives about 12 to 14 miles from school and during the summer when we were having two a days, he was riding his bike to practice and riding it home afterwards. He wants to be good and he has the drive to be good. He is a very focused kid and has great character.

Q: How did Iowa get involved with him and what are your impressions of the Iowa staff and how they recruited him?

McGREGOR: I love working with the Iowa coaches. They were fantastic. I went to John Carroll University, which is around Cleveland and Ken O'Keefe also went there. I am a few years older than Ken, but we have a good connection there. Coach Wilson came in as well. I am also originally from Pittsburgh and from the same area of town where Coach Ferentz grew up. We have a lot of connections. Iowa has never really recruited the D.C. area before, but then Ken called me one day after watching some tape and I told him that he should come in take a closer look. They ended up offering four or five of my kids and I think he really liked the area. This area is sort of a transient area and kids are more willing to go away from home for college, so it is a good area for them to recruit. They have also have the two kids from Baltimore, Poggi and Ferguson, who are already committed.

Q: Speaking of those two commits, you play Gillman in your second game. Does that become a big game for Marcus now going up against his fellow Iowa commits?

McGREGOR: I'm sure that it will. We have played Gillman for the past ten years and they are probably the top rated private school in the Baltimore area and we are the top private school in the D.C. area, so we have had some great games. I'm sure that it will be fun for Marcus to play against Jimmy and Fergie.

Q: You mentioned that Iowa has offered a couple of your other players on the DeMatha team. Are they interested in Iowa?

McGREGOR: I really don't know, but I don't think so. I have a big offensive tackle (Arie Kouandjio) and he probably has about 40 offers. He can go anywhere in the country. He has cut his list to about six schools and Iowa isn't one of those six. I have two corners that have offers as well. One of the kids (Lorenzo Waters) top choices right now are Miami, Michigan, and Wake Forest. The other corners (Michael Coley) top choices are Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, and Maryland. I don't think any of those guys will go to Iowa.

Q: How much of an impact do you think that Shonn Greene's success and Iowa's running style of offense had on Marcus and his decision?

McGREGOR: I think that with Iowa offense, if you are a running back that wants to run the ball, you have to take a look at it. They are going to come downhill and run the football. Coach Ferentz builds his offense around strong offensive lineman, protecting the ball, and play good defense and special teams. Anyone who is a decent running back has to consider Iowa. We are just thrilled to have Marcus going to a great institution and program like the University of Iowa.

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