Posted by Tom Fornelli
Last month on National Signing Day, Cyrus Kouandijo became a bit of a household name in the college football world. The offensive lineman out of Maryland high school football powerhouse Dematha originally committed to Auburn on signing day. He then quickly changed his mind, and over the next week there was plenty of speculation as to why Kouandijo had changed his mind, and where he'd end up.
Eventually Cyrus would choose Alabama, where his older brother Arie Kouandijo had spent the 2010 season as a redshirt lineman. Just another chapter in the Alabama-Auburn rivalry. Of course, there was a third school that had been in the running for Kouandijo's services, and that school was Iowa. In fact, in a recent interview with The Sporting News, Kouandijo says that Iowa was the front-runner pretty early, but it turns out that the outbreak of rhabdomyolysis amongst 13 iowa football players after an offseason workout swayed his decision.
"At first I really, really, really wanted to go to Iowa," Kouandijo answered when asked where he was leaning in the fall. "I even told my best friend that I was going to Iowa. But when everything went down with them with the workouts and all, that was different. I had a bad vibe when I went there. Alabama may be far from home, but Iowa—living-style wise—it’s just out there and just not me. I wouldn’t have been able to thrive in that environment. I love their coaches and I love their team, but it was really just out for me."
I must admit that I do find it odd that Kouandijo's view of Iowa City itself changed. After all, the school was located in the same place before so many football players had to be hospitalized. So it seems that Kouandijo began looking at the school through a different lense following the rhabdomyoysis outbreak. After all, it's not like Tuscaloosa or Auburn are in the middle of giant metropolitan areas themselves.