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  • Recruiting mailbag: Does Griffin Liddle have a favorite? Cap City thoughts, Iowa's elite TE targets and more

Recruiting mailbag: Does Griffin Liddle have a favorite? Cap City thoughts, Iowa's elite TE targets and more

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Iowa State’s George Conditt passed on an opportunity to join Puerto Rico national team, because he’s focusing on an expanded role as a Cyclone
Randy Peterson, rpeterson@dmreg.com

Welcome, once again, to the recruiting mailbag. Glad to see ya.

If you want to submit questions, always feel free to tweet at me (@MatthewBain_), direct message me on Twitter or email me (mbain@dmreg.com). I do the weekly roll call for questions on my Twitter account, but I’ll happily take questions at any time.

OK, that’s enough for the intro section you’re probably going to scroll past anyway.

Norwalk 2020 point guard Bowen Born showed off every facet of his game during the AAU event Battle at the Lakes.
Matthew Bain, mbain@dmreg.com

Curious of your thoughts on future, soon to-be, ISU bball players? — Phil Van Waus

Phil emailed this question after watching the YMCA Cap City League with his two sons.

I’ve only been out one Sunday and haven’t seen all the new Cyclones, but I have gotten pretty good looks at Caleb Grill, Tre Jackson, Marcedus Leech and Javan Johnson.

(Disclaimer: Defense doesn’t really exist in Cap City games. So take all these observations with a healthy grain of salt.)

Grill is exciting to watch. He can score at all three levels, and he’s quite the athlete. I’ve always thought he’ll be able to score right away in college. The question is how well he’ll defend right away. But if Prohm is looking for a jolt of scoring off the bench, Grill could be an option.

Jackson has the “it” factor. There’s just something about the confidence with which he plays. He looks more like a college junior than a kid who just finished high school. His 3-point shot is lights-out, as advertised. That, alone, will get him minutes as a freshman.

Leech is a playmaker, and he can shoot pretty well. There’s really not much he can’t do on the basketball court. But he’s quite skinny. I’m guessing he’ll need some time in the weight program before getting serious run. And that’s probably a good thing — Leech is still working his way back to 100 percent after breaking his leg two summers ago.

Johnson certainly has the pieces. He’s 6-8, long and athletic with plenty of skill, too. I think he’ll benefit from the redshirt year — bulk up a bit, get used to the system in Ames.

Where do the Cyclones stand with Ben Carlson, the legacy recruit from St. Paul? — @joneslab1288

There’s not much new right now with four-star Minnesota forward Ben Carlson.

He has taken three official visits so far: Xavier, Purdue and most recently to Stanford in early June. Those three are obviously in the mix, along with Iowa State, Wisconsin and Minnesota, among a few others. Carlson also told me in May that Gonzaga, Indiana, Michigan and Virginia were showing strong interest.

Carlson told me this week that Iowa State is among the schools that are heavily on his radar, and that the coaching staff is in contact with him a lot.

At this point, I’m not sure I’d say the Cyclones are among the favorites, but they’re definitely a contender. Let’s say top six. And a lot can change quickly in recruiting.

When I’ve talked to him, Carlson has had nothing but good things to say about Iowa State, who has recruited him since his sophomore year. Although he isn’t from Iowa, the Cyclones have treated Carlson like an in-state prospect. He said he loves the home atmosphere at Hilton Coliseum. He has great relationships with Steve Prohm and Daniyal Robinson, who call or text him a few times a week, he said.

Carlson has visited Iowa State unofficially three times, and the Cyclones visited him in Minnesota as recently as May 2. 

You also probably know this by now, but Carlson’s dad, Marc, played for Iowa State in the early 1990s. 

“I really like them. Coach Prohm is a really good guy. He’s one of my favorite coaches — just a really good guy. I like their staff, too,” Carlson told me in May. “I just feel like I connect with (Prohm) really well. Some coaches are like that. You just connect with them well, and he’s one of them.”

In terms of his timeline, Carlson said he plans to play the spring and summer out, see where his recruitment stands, perhaps take some more official visits in the late summer or fall and then make a decision sometime before his senior season.

He said he could see himself taking one of those officials to Ames.

“Definitely,” Carlson said. “They’ve been talking to me since the beginning, so I think I’d probably want to go down there again just to get a good feel.”

Is UNI still in on the Madsens? — @DJHoelscher

Yes, UNI is still recruiting Gabe and Mason Madsen, the twin wings from Bloomer, Wisconsin, who currently play their high school ball in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Panthers offered both during an unofficial visit way back in October 2017. It was Mason’s first offer and Gabe’s third. For a while, it looked like the brothers were on a mid-major trajectory, and UNI was positioned quite well to land them both.

I’m told that is still the staff’s goal. 

But Gabe’s blossoming stock is going to make that difficult. Gabe has added offers from Iowa, Minnesota and Virginia Tech, thanks to an impressive spring with the Wisconsin Playground Warriors. More high-majors are tracking him, too.

High-majors are also keeping an eye on Mason, but he’s still a mid-major prospect at this point, with offers from UNI, Green Bay, Toledo, South Dakota, Furman and Milwaukee, among others.

The prevailing thought at the beginning of the Madsens’ recruitment was that they would only commit where they could play together. In late April, though, their father told me that wasn’t the case. And now, with Gabe at the high-major level, it’s feeling less and less likely, unless Mason adds an offer from one of Gabe’s high-major suitors.

But, again: UNI is still recruiting both.

To give you an idea of how quickly things change in recruiting … I was told this spring by a strong Midwest source that it was pretty much down to UNI or Toledo for the Madsens. Fast-forward a few months, and here we are.

What are Iowa’s chances of getting Luke Lachey or Theo Johnson at TE? — @BenFlaherty21

If I were to guess today, I’d bet Iowa gets one of those two prime tight end targets.

It’s down to Iowa and Michigan State for Luke Lachey, the four-star Columbus product. The Hawkeyes had a lot of momentum after his June 21-23 official visit, and it wouldn’t have been surprising to see a commitment. That didn’t occur, but Iowa still looks good.

The competition is a little stiffer for Theo Johnson, the four-star product of Ontario, Canada. 247Sports ranks him the No. 4 tight end in 2020, and his offer sheet reflects that. His top four schools are Iowa, Georgia, Michigan and Penn State, and there doesn’t seem to be a clear favorite. He officially visited Iowa in early June.

Right now, it seems like Iowa’s chances are better with Lachey than with Johnson, but that’s mostly because we know less about where Johnson’s head is at.

Any Drake MBB recruiting news? — @Sdvickery

I’m going to sound like a broken record here, but I’ve got to report what I hear: In terms of 2020 targets in the Midwest, Born and Geneseo (Illinois) guard Isaiah Rivera are still the biggest names that Drake is really locked in on.

Larry Blunt does strong work in Canada, and Ontario small forward Coleman Stucke is a name to keep an eye on up there. The staff has also liked Omaha power forward Max Murrell for a while and it offered him a couple weeks ago — but so have Minnesota, TCU, Virginia Tech, Kansas State and Iowa.

So, again, here in the Midwest, it’s mainly Born and Rivera. The Bulldogs have been on those guys for a long, long time.

I’m guessing the staff would indulge in some champagne if they land both.

Matthew Bain covers recruiting, Iowa/Iowa State athletics and Drake basketball for the Des Moines Register and USA TODAY Network. Contact him at mbain@dmreg.com and follow him on Twitter @MatthewBain_.

Source: Des Moines Register