Marcel Joly is bound for Iowa (Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Forestville running back/defensive back/return man extraordinaire Marcel Joly made an oral commitment to Iowa this week after visiting the school over the weekend. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Joly will play defensive back for the Hawkeyes.

Joly said the Iowa coaching staff showed consistent interest in him from the beginning of of the recruiting process, dedication that played into his decision to commit to and visit only Iowa, despite offers from Vanderbilt, Maryland, Old Dominion and Temple.

“From the get-go, I just felt the love Iowa was showing me. Their coaches have been keeping in touch with me. I just felt like playing for Iowa would be like going home,” Joly said. “I just felt it was the right thing for me to do.”

With a strong upper body and quick feet honed on soccer fields in Haiti, where he lived until age 10, Joly has given opposing tacklers fits as the Knights’ starting running back throughout his career. He’s also a menace in the open field, something that’s served him well in the return game — of the five punts Joly has returned this season, he has returned three for touchdowns.

“When you watch him do it, it’s like he’s playing soccer. He’s very fast, he can switch directions and get back to top speed,” Forestville Coach Charles Harley said. “Some of the time he’ll be jogging, and you think, ‘What is he doing?’ He’s watching. He sees a crease and he accelerates.”

Joly says he hopes to major in criminal justice and pursue a career in law enforcement when his football career comes to an end, but that he’s looking forward to being a Hawkeye.

“Just their fans. They really enjoy the games. That was incredible, I’d never seen that,” Joly said. “The stadium was crazy, that was really exciting.”

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