WHO IS THIS AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?
Barkley Hill is a high school senior at Cedar Falls who was this year's ESPN Iowa Football POY. Realistically, he is a 3-star RB recruit who went unranked by Rivals and who was verbally commited to Iowa State until a few hours ago, when news broke that he had switched allegiances to the Hawkeyes.
SO WHY ALL THE COMMOTION?
Because of our need as a species to ascribe larger meaning to insignificant things.
Barkley Hill is a work-horse RB who has some speed and flash but makes his quality yards hauling defenders on his back. He can block and take a beating as necessary. He's the sort of square peg that fits perfectly in the square hole that is Kirk Ferentz's Pro-style offense.
So when he committed to Spread-happy Iowa State back in April, some less-rational Cyclone fans in certain corners of the internet decided to frame the decision as a referendum on just who the actual football power in the state was. This is because people get crazy stupid when it comes to sports, and I mean that in both great and horrible ways.
AND THAT'S WHY THERE'S AN INSUFFERABLE HAWK FAN DANCING IN MY OFFICE?
He might just be on meth, but yeah, pretty much. If a major Iowa HS recruit committing to Iowa State means that Iowa State is overtaking Iowa as "the" in-state school, then clearly a reversal to Iowa is a refutation of that logic and an excuse for the same sort of irrational fan in other corners of the internet to crow about how this is because Iowa is so much better than ISU.
By the way - if the Hawk fan is the sort of recruitnik who actually knew who Barkley Hill was before this incident, put in a call to HR. There's a 50% chance that they'll find a google search for "athletic 17 year old boys" and the problem should sort itself out.
SO WHY THE FLIP?
Besides the fact that it's probably really fun as a teenager to just troll the shit out of grown-ass men who hang on your every tweet? Probably has a lot to do with early playing time. Iowa State's White/Woody/Johnson trio is returning next year as Juniors. Iowa, on the other hand... can YOU name who the starting back will be next year with Coker gone?
So yeah. Iowa State loses a guy who probably wouldn't have contributed much for a couple years, and Iowa gets a shiny new toy for the AIRBHG to break. Grown men continue to shell out money to websites that supposedly offer insights into the decisions of high school students, and the absurd juggernaut that is college football staggers on.