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Iowa Football: Illinois LB Hockaday picks Hawkeyes over Huskers

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The Iowa football coaching staff continued to make some noise this weekend when Illinois linebacker Jack Hockaday gave his verbal pledge to the Hawkeyes on Saturday, according to several media outlets.

Hockaday, ranked as the 17th best prospect out of Illinois, gave Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz the good news while on his official visit to campus this weekend. But he said he knew for a few months that he was ready to make Iowa City his future home.

"My dad and I went in to meet with Coach Ferentz today and we talked for a bit and then I told him I was ready to commit to Iowa," Hockaday told "He got up and shook my hand and told me he was really happy to have me on board."

The 6-foot, 200-pound Hockaday is ranked by scout as the 29th best linebacker prospect in the country and he chose the Hawkeyes over offers from Big Ten rivals Nebraska, Illinois and Indiana as well as Duke.

Hockaday, who is from Maroa, Illinois, now knows where he will play his collegiate home games but is unsure exactly where he will play on the field. The Hawkeye coaching staff may fight for his services at any of the three linebacker positions. But it is the relationships that he has already built with Ferentz and linebacker coaches LeVar Woods and Jim Reid that landed him in Iowa City.

"I have been there a few times and I liked it from the beginning," Hockaday told "I really like the coaches at Iowa, especially Coach Woods, Coach Reid, and Coach Ferentz. I have a very good relationship with them and it keeps getting better. I couldn't ask for a better fit for me than Iowa."

Hockaday is the seventh known verbal commitment in the 2015 class. Five of those players are from the state of Iowa. The other one is Illinois quarterback Jack Beneventi, a 6-foot-6, three-star prospect who chose Iowa over Illinois, Notre Dame and Louisville, among others.

Hockaday is the first 2015 commit that is not a quarterback or offensive lineman.