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Born to be a Hawkeye

Southeast Valley's Graves verbally commits to Iowa

IOWA CITY — Since the fifth grade, Aaron Graves knew where he wanted to play college football.

And this past week, he made that commitment.

After a lineman camp here last weekend, Graves, a soon to be sophomore at Southeast Valley, was asked to call the Iowa coaching staff. When he did, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz offered him a scholarship.

“I knew I wanted to go there (Iowa) since I was in fifth grade,” Graves siad. “When I called them, he (Ferentz) said ‘We’re going to offer you a scholarship.’ And I asked, ‘How do I commit?’ It was absolute excitement and relief to know I would be going to Iowa.

“They have a great sports science program and I knew the field I wanted to be in. They have a great education program as well and the weight room is state of the art.”

In his freshman campaign for the Jaguars, the 6-foot-4, 230-pound lineman, had an eye catching 67 tackles, 15 TFL and 11 sacks.

Now with three seasons left of high school football, Graves can just focus on competing and getting better.

“It is great to have the pressure off,” said Graves who is the first commit of Iowa’s 2022 recruiting class. “I don’t have to go through the process of recruiting and I don’t have to worry about it.

“My parents have played a big part in my life and career. My dad (Mark) is my line and weight coach and he has given me the motivation to be a D-I athlete and my mom (Amber) has been supportive of me to be at this level. They are great motivators.”

Mark, who has been by Aaron’s side on and off the field is the line coach at Southeast Valley, and is proud to see his son’s dream come true.

“I’m very proud of him,” Mark said. “It’s something he wanted and now he’s done with the whole process and he can focus on becoming a Hawkeye.”

Aaron drew rave reviews from the offensive/defensive linemen camp in Iowa City, where he was pitted against juniors and seniors.

“He was going against juniors and seniors and doing well,” Mark said. “They evaluated him and looked at his tape and came to the agreement that they had seen what they needed to see.”

The first time Southeast Valley head coach Mike Swieter seen Aaron, he knew he had something special.

“I knew about him a couple of years before he was a freshman,” Swieter said. “The first time I seen him I knew he wouldn’t have to worry about playing JV and it didn’t take but half a practice to see that not only would he be varsity, but he would contribute.

“He has a motor that just won’t stop. His energy is above and beyond and he knows how to bring it.”

Being close to the family, Swieter has known where Graves wanted to spend his college days.

“He wanted to be an Iowa Hawkeye,” Swieter said. “If any other school like Iowa State or even Alabama called, he would still be a Hawkeye. He won’t let this go to his head and now the pressure is off and he can concentrate on playing football.

“I’m very happy for him and the program and I get to enjoy him for three more years.”