By Tyler Devine
Your Prep Sports
IOWA CITY – Nate Wieland had to wait until almost the very end of the recruiting process to get his dream scholarship offer from Iowa.
It was well worth the wait.
Wieland had been committed to Northern Illinois since the summer, but when the Iowa offer finally came last Thursday, and less than a week before the national signing day, he couldn't say no.
“Yeah, (it’s a dream come true),” Wieland said Wednesday. “Just going to games growing up all my life it just feels really good to accomplish this. I couldn’t pass up being in my hometown and in the Big Ten. There were too many opportunities, not only athletically, but academically as well that I just couldn’t pass up.”
The 6-foot-3, 220-pound Wieland said the Iowa coaches had planned on him being a part of the 2017 class. They just had to figure out the logistics.
“They kind of said all along that they had me as part of this class,” Wieland said. “It was just time, whether I was going to get a blue shirt or full scholarship and then the time came and I got the full ride. They said ever since the bowl game that they were going to offer they just didn’t know exactly when.”
After having played quarterback, linebacker, defensive end and defensive back in high school, Wieland could contribute at several positions in college.
But he said the Iowa coaches like him as a linebacker.
“That’s where I’ll start out,” Wieland said. “But I mean with time and practice, I’ll be comfortable playing any position.”
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz gave high praise to Wieland's potential, comparing him to former Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens, a former two-star recruit from Ohio who now starts for the Dallas Cowboys. Hitchens came to Iowa as a two-star running back and left as a four-year letterwinner.
“In that case, I wouldn't be surprised if Nate Wieland ends up being a linebacker,” Ferentz said. “That's what I envision him being if he's not we got a good safety, too. But that's what we project in there. I see him in that Anthony Hitchens mold or Chad Greenway.
“I don't want to say Chad, he's played 20 years in the NFL. That's not fair to compare a guy there.”
Wieland also looks forward to the possibility of rekindling a friendly rivalry with his good friend Oliver Martin, who attends crosstown rival Iowa City West.
Martin, a four-star receiver, signed with Michigan on Wednesday.
““It’ll be fun,” Wieland said. “It’ll be fun. It’ll be like the City-West game all over again.”