Iowa City, Iowa – Our team at Hawkeye Heaven is writing a series of articles where we highlight each of the 22 commitments Iowa received in the 2018 class. We’ll share each recruit’s highlights, and do our best to mention what jumps out at us about each player on tape. Then we will predict what kind of an impact we think they will make in a Hawkeye uniform. Next up is defensive back recruit Kaevon Merriweather!
Kaevon Merriweather is a 6-2 195 lb. defensive back recruit out of Belleville High School in Belleville, Michigan. He’s a young man whose offer from the University of Iowa to play football surprised a lot of people who hadn’t ever heard of him. It didn’t surprise the coaches and players who were familiar with him, but up until Iowa offered he was a relatively unknown football recruit.
Why was he unknown? Why did Iowa offer a kid who no one else really knew about? Well, because growing up football typically came in second behind basketball for Kaevon. In fact, he wasn’t even with Belleville’s football team when they started practice his senior season because he was traveling with his AAU basketball team. When Kaevon did show up to football practice it didn’t take him long to make an impression. Kaevon played on a Belleville team that was loaded with D1 talent. Fortunately for him Phil Parker visited one of Belleville’s practices late in his senior season and was immediately intrigued by the raw ability, work ethic, and attitude that Kaevon displayed.
Merriweather is listed as just a 2 star recruit on Rivals. Purdue, Iowa State, and Miami of Ohio started to show some interest in Kaevon, likely after Iowa spotted him, but the offer to play for Phil Parker and develop as a defensive back at the University of Iowa was all he needed.
Blessed to receive an offer and be committed to the University of Iowa🐤 pic.twitter.com/kcyo…
— Kaevon M. (@Kaevon02) February 3, 2018
See ball. Attack ball. That’s the easiest way to describe what you see on Merriweather’s highlights. You can tell he is a raw football player, but you can also see his untapped potential. At the end of the day, defense is about finding and attacking the football. Merriweather has an instinct for doing just that. The complexities of the game can be taught over time to someone who is a willing student. Especially when the teacher is Phil Parker. Raw, unbridled athleticism can’t be taught. You either have it or you don’t and he clearly has it. It’s easy to see why Parker thought Merriweather was worth the scholarship offer.
Look, I’m not going to sugar coat it. Merriweather wasn’t on anyone’s radar as a football recruit until the very end of his high school career. It’s the year 2018, with social media and video cameras on every single cell phone. It is rare that a 6’2 195 lb. athlete doesn’t show up on the recruiting radar. Which makes this young man the definition of an under-the-radar recruit, but if Phil Parker liked what he saw out of Merriweather enough to offer him a full-ride scholarship then that’s all I need to know. Phil Parker is arguably the best defensive back coach in the country. He has proven it time and time again. He knows what he’s looking for in a player, and he damn sure knows how to develop them. As far as I’m concerned, the fact Kaevon slipped under the radar for so long ended up being a blessing in disguise for the Hawkeyes.
Merriweather will almost certainly redshirt as a true freshman. He doesn’t have enough experience to step up and play right away at this level of college football. He’s a little bit of a project, but he has the intangibles that a coach needs to develop a great football player. He has the coaches that he needs to help him develop into that great football player at the University of Iowa. This young man put himself, and his future, into a great position by choosing to accept Iowa’s scholarship offer.
I expect it will take Merriweather a couple of years to go from a raw talent to a polished Big Ten level defensive back. He probably isn’t going to see a lot of playing time early on in his career, but by the time he reaches his junior or senior season look out. He could very well end up being another diamond that Phil Parker found in the rough. Keep a close eye on this one. His development should be fun to watch.
Welcome to the Hawkeye family Kaevon!