Juco spotlight: Iowa Western C.C.

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa – Through six games, Iowa Western Community College ranks No. 1 nationally in the NJCAA poll, averaging 67.5 points and 623 yards of offense per game -- with the star power to explain it.

The fourth-year program features quarterback Jake Waters, who received his first five scholarships over the past two weeks, and Maryland pledge Deon Long, who has posted eye-popping numbers this fall.

Long’s 55 catches for 954 yards and 15 touchdowns have drawn widespread attention in recruiting, but he remains committed to the Terrapins after transferring to IWCC last year from New Mexico.

“He’s one of the most explosive athletes that I’ve seen,” Iowa Western coach Scott Strohmeier said. “Great ball skills. He catches everything with his hands.”

Delivering the passes is Waters, who is completing 73.7 percent of his throws (112 of 152) for 1,696 yards and 22 touchdowns. Akron was the first to offer a scholarship in late September, followed by Florida Atlantic, NC State, Kansas State and Penn State.

“He’s the most well-rounded, all-around quarterback that I’ve ever coached,” Strohmeier said. “We don’t use him with his legs, because we don’t have to, but he runs well, too.”

A local product from St. Albert High School in Council Bluffs, Waters played basketball, baseball and football before college and received little recruiting interest.

“What’s happened lately is pretty surreal,” Waters said. “I’ve been pretty happy and exicted. It’s definitely crazy, but a good kind of crazy.”

Also on offense, running back Aaron Wimberly is committed to Iowa State, turning down Boise State, among others, and receiver Martize Barr -- another New Mexico transfer -- has pledged to Illinois.

Iowa State and Nevada are among the schools to have offered running back Don Jackson, a Washington State commit out of high school in Sacramento, Calif.

All of the skill-position players are expected to sign in December. Barr, Waters and Long have two years to complete two seasons of eligibility after this fall. Jackson has three years to play three seasons, and Wimberly has three years to play two.

Offensive guard Michael Smithburg and tackle Dallas Hinkhouse, both 3-for-2 December signees, joined the Reivers from Iowa high school programs.

Akron, Memphis, Western Kentucky, Western Michigan and Florida International have offered Smithburg.

“He’s your blue-collar, Iowa-type offensive lineman,” Strohmeier said. “Just a hard-working, tough kid.”

Same story for Hinkhouse, a West Des Moines Valley graduate with seven offers.

"He plays with such a high motor from snap to whistle,” Strohmeier said.

Defensive end Devon Nash of Lincoln, Neb., counts offers from Arizona State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, among others.

A 2-for-2 prospect with a December departure planned, Nash has added 40 pounds in junior college.

“He’s worked extremely hard,” the coach said. “He’s a guy who’s very determined to get to the next level.”

Defensive tackle Jordan Heiderman has committed to Indiana. And defensive end Rodney Coe, a former top recruit as a running back out of Edwardsville, Ill., has bulked up to 290 pounds. Coe pledged to Iowa two years ago before failing to qualify academically.

Iowa State, South Florida and Akron have offered Coe in this recruiting cycle. He's a 3-for-2 prospect, set to graduate next May.

"Great athletic ability for his size and a high ceiling,” Strohmeier said.