Football wasn’t the only factor in Tommy Herion’s decision to choose University of Iowa.

He said he wanted to go to somewhere he could see himself as a student without playing a sport.

“The biggest thing for me was being happy at a school if football didn’t work out,” he said. “I will have no problem being at Iowa.”

On Monday, the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Herion verbally committed to the Hawkeyes as a preferred walk-on. He said he was extended the invitation at Loyola before the Christmas break by Brian Ferentz, Iowa’s offensive coordinator and the son of head coach Kirk Ferentz.

Herion said his decision was between Iowa and New Hampshire, which offered him a scholarship. The Wildcats play in the Football Championship Subdivision.

“I didn’t have a great feeling about New Hampshire,” he said. “It’s too far. I visited last summer, and I didn’t really like it there, other than the football.”

After sitting out his junior year due to transfer rules, Herion shined as a senior in his first varsity season. He led the Ramblers (13-1) to the Class 8A state final and a Catholic Blue championship. The first team conference selection finished the 2016 campaign completing 61.5 percent of his passes for 2,274 yards. He threw 18 touchdowns and two interceptions in 286 attempts. He also ran for 308 yards and seven TDs.

Herion said he first came into contact with Iowa coaches in early 2016 when he visited the campus for a football showcase reserved for juniors. He then attended an Iowa camp over the summer.

“I was in a tough situation with zero junior film, but they got to see me throw live,” Herion said. “Over the summer, I threw with a lot of kids who were going to big schools, and I felt like I could compete with them. I know I have to put in the time and work, but it should be fun. [Iowa coaches] tell me I could help out with the scout team as a freshman. That would be awesome.”

Herion’s sister, Colleen, graduated from Iowa, and his other sister, Mary Kate, currently is a student at Iowa.

“I’ve been there a million times,” he said. “I wanted to go to a bigger school and be in that environment. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Photo credit: Geoff Scott