Intriguing out-of-state pickups, heavy Iowa flavor in Panthers football’s 2019 recruiting class

CEDAR FALLS, Ia. — Northern Iowa stuck to its usual recruiting grounds for the bulk of its 2019 class, but a few out-of-state gets make for an intriguing group.

The Panthers announced their entire 31-man class — 20 scholarship players and 12 preferred walk-ons — as part of Wednesday’s National Signing Day festivities. UNI added 19 newcomers to the 12 it signed back in December, but the full list wasn’t officially released until Wednesday.

The class makeup includes 22 Iowans — no surprise for a Mark Farley-led recruiting effort. Other familiar areas like Blue Springs, Missouri, and eastern Illinois were, too, but the Panthers ventured outside the normal boundaries, as well.

UNI head coach Mark Farley speaks during media day on Wednesday, Aug. 8, 2018, at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

(Photo: Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen)

UNI dipped down to Georgia for a quarterback piece in 6-foot-3, 184-pound signal caller Justin Fomby. The Lawrenceville, Georgia, native had plenty of FBS interest, including offers from South Alabama, Coastal Carolina, Georgia State and Missouri.

247 Sports Composite slots Fomby as the nation’s No. 30 pro-style quarterback prospect and the No. 103 prospect from Georgia. Following Eli Dunne’s graduation, UNI’s most intriguing position battle this offseason comes under center. Fomby, along with fellow freshman Nate Martens, sophomore Will McElvain and redshirt sophomore Jacob Keller, are the options UNI will evaluate in the coming months.

Another interesting pluck came from Houston, where the Panthers picked up free safety Edwin Dearman. UNI recently had secondary success with another Houston product in Malcolm Washington, and the Panthers hope Dearman is another hit.

He joins defensive back Omar Brown — another out-of-state get from Minneapolis — as two of UNI’s better secondary lands. The other headliners there include Micah Mayberry.

Among UNI’s most noteworthy in-state finds is wide receiver Logan Wolf, who signed in December after turning down a late Hawkeye push. Other scholarship Iowans are running back Kendall Robinson, wide receiver Michael Zachary, tight end Maverick Gatrost, offensive lineman Jared Penning, offensive lineman Jackson Leistikow, linebacker Spencer Cuvelier, linebacker Caleb Lomica, linebacker Cameron Baker, linebacker Jake McLaughlin and linebacker Reed Snitker.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.

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