Iowa Football Scouting: Indiana’s Hawkeyes Land Engagement Tight End Cael Vanderbush


The Iowa Hawkeyes rode all September. Iowa is leading a 10-game winning streak that stretches back to Week 3 of the 2020 season and is enjoying its third consecutive week in the top-5 AP.

This type of success on the court is likely to help Iowa’s coaching staff get started in recruiting. In an effort to capitalize on that momentum, the Hawkeyes have hosted a large number of visitors to each of Iowa’s three home games this season.

Last weekend was no different as Iowa welcomed over 20 prospects in the classes of 2022, 2023 and beyond. One of those visitors was Indiana tight end Cael Vanderbush. A relatively new name on Hawkeye’s board, his visit came with limited attention in advance. That changed on Saturday because staff at Iowa saw enough to make an offer.

Vanderbush says HawkeyeReport he was incredibly excited to receive the offer.

I discovered it in the car as I was driving away and was very excited. I really love Iowa and the opportunity to play there with the great atmosphere and traditions they have in Kinnick.

He was excited enough to pull out of western Michigan on Sunday. As he tried to play things close to the vest, telling HawkeyeReport he hadn’t made any decisions yet, he was quick to pull the trigger as he officially announced his commitment to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Monday night.

Venderbush is an intriguing prospect. At 6’6 “and 200 pounds, he’s got an excellent frame for the tight final position, but he’s shown enough speed and athleticism in the first five games of his senior season to convince at least one site he might end up playing receiver to the next level.

That’s probably not the case in Iowa, which recruited him closely, but Hawkeye fans should be excited about what they see in the movie with the Plainfield, Indiana native. He has more speed for the TE position (which you can really see as he walks away from much smaller defensive backs on the film), as you can guess for a player thought to be capable of playing WR at the level D1, and its capture radius is enormous. He’s also a willful and capable blocker, as evidenced by some punitive finishes against lower defenders.

In five games as a senior at Plainfield High, Vanderbush has 509 yards and four touchdowns on 21 receptions (24.2 ypc). This follows a junior season that saw him amass 743 yards and 6 of 44 catches (16.9 YPC).

While his recruiting started relatively slowly with the Air Force and West Michigan offerings, this year’s early results have sparked new interest from contenders for the Power Five. That included an offer from Utah last week, as well as the Hawkeyes this weekend.

With the addition of Vanderbush, Iowa’s 2022 class now has ten engagements in total. Cael joins Addison Ostrenga, a native of Wisconsin, as Iowa’s second close engagement in the class. The Hawkeyes likely finished in the position, but could potentially consider a tight third end given they took none in last year’s class.

Vanderbush is Iowa’s eighth engagement outside state lines. The Hawkeyes are expected to make about 15 total class engagements, but that number could rise or fall depending on decisions about additional years due to COVID-19 after the season.

Welcome aboard Cael Vanderbush!

Cael Vanderbush, TE
Height: 6’6 “
Weight: 200 lbs
Birthplace: Plainfield, Indiana (Plainfield)
Stars: 247 Sports – 3; Rivals – 3

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