For some high school football players, national signing day means making a tough decision. Do you take some scholarship money at a smaller school, or chase your dream of playing at a big-time school as a walk-on?
The Iowa Hawkeyes picked up three Sioux City athletes on Wednesday afternoon.
Bishop Heelan's Jeremy Nelson and Michael Malloy signed to play for Kirk Ferentz this fall as preferred walk-ons. Nelson set a Heelan school record with 193 tackles last year and will stay at linebacker for Iowa.
Malloy ran for over 1,600 yards as a junior with 31 touchdowns. His senior season was cut short by a serious knee injury suffered early in the season. Both players say getting a chance to play for the Hawkeyes was too much to pass up.
"In the summer when I got there I met everybody and I felt right, right away," said Malloy. "A couple of other schools came into the picture but I think Iowa was definitely the main choice the whole time. I want to get on the field. I want to be able to help my team but if I'm a role player, I'll be a role player. I just want to do whatever I can to help the team and help the university."
"Iowa was the main school that recruited me the hardest throughout the season," said Nelson. "It's a great school. I think it's a great opportunity and it's just a dream I've always had as a kid."
The Hawkeyes picked up another invited walk-on at Sioux City East as Alex Imming signed up. As a quarterback, he threw for over 3,000 yards in high school and ran for over 2,000 yards. Imming will make the switch to wide receiver at Iowa. He hopes his walk-on status will lead to a scholarship, but as an invited walk-on, Imming already feels like a Hawkeye.
"I don't have to try out. I'm already on the team," said Imming. "I get all the benefits that any other scholarship player would get in the program. It's just that my college isn't getting paid for. I like the opportunity. It's going to be a challenge, learning a new position, but I'm ready for the challenge."
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