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2026 4-star OT Carson Nielsen commits to Iowa Hawkeyes

On3 imageby:Hunter Shelton04/22/24


Waterloo (Iowa) West four-star offensive tackle Carson Nielsen has committed to Iowa.

He chose the in-state Hawkeyes while also holding offers from the likes of Kansas State, Iowa State, Nebraska, Missouri, Penn State and Tennessee.

Nielsen is the No. 175 overall prospect and No. 15 OT in the 2026 cycle, according to the On3 Industry Ranking, a weighted average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies. He’s also the No. 2 player in Iowa.

On3 ranks Nielsen higher than other recruiting services. He checks in at No. 105 overall, No. 9 at his position and No. 1 in Iowa, according to the 2026 On300.

For more Iowa recruiting intel, check out Hawkeye Report.

The Hawkeyes had Nielsen back on campus multiple times this spring, including a trip toward the end of March. Offensive line coach George Barnett, lead recruiter Jay Niemann and new offensive coordinator Tim Lester each played a role in keeping the touted trench monster in-state.

“Every time I leave Iowa City, I like it more and more and can see myself being a Hawkeye,” Nielsen told Hawkeye Report after his Junior Day visit in February.

The 6-foot-7, 175-pounder becomes the first commit for Kirk Ferentz and Co. in the 2026 cycle.

More on Iowa Recruiting

Iowa currently possess six pledges in the 2025 cycle, compiling the No. 31 class in the nation and No. 9 class in the Big Ten, according to the On3 Industry Team Recruiting Rankings. The usual midwest flavor is featured throughout the pledge list.

Clear Lake (Iowa) four-star tight end Thomas Meyer is the top-ranked player in the state and a quintessential recruit for the Hawkeyes. He’s the No. 212 recruit overall in the cycle and the No. 13 TE.

“I just feel like Iowa is the best fit for me and it’s been a dream of mine ever since I was little,” Meyer told Hawkeye Report upon his commitment. “It’s a great feeling.”

Meyer is one of two tight ends committed to Iowa, as he’s flanked by River Falls (Wisc.) three-star Eli Johnson. Pleasant Valley (Iowa) three-star offensive lineman Joey VanWetzinga and Fort Wayne (Ind.) Carroll three-star quarterback Jimmy Sullivan are the other pledges on the offensive side of the ball.

A pair of Prairie State linebackers round out the class on defense. Sycamore (Ill.) three-star Burke Gautcher committed on Oct. 15 last year and was followed by Oswego (Ill.) three-star Carson Cooney on Feb. 3.