SIOUX CITY | Truth be known, there really wasn’t much doubt that Robert Neustrom would accept a scholarship offer from the University of Iowa baseball program.
Just to be sure, though, the North High senior waited until his official visit last week to verbally commit to the Hawkeyes.
“I was looking at some other schools, possibly the junior college route for baseball, but I’ve always wanted to go to Iowa,” Neustrom said. “So once they gave me that call and I went on my visit I was pretty much sold.”
Iowa assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Marty Sutherland first contacted Neustrom shortly after his junior season ended last summer. Last weekend, he met with head coach Rick Heller and other members of the staff, stayed in the dorms and attended the Iowa football game.
“It’s not only a great opportunity for me, but the coaches are great and they really have the program going in the right direction,” Neustrom said. “And Iowa is a great campus and school.”
Neustrom, a three-sport standout at North, had a fantastic junior season in which the centerfielder batted a robust .540 with team highs in RBIs (46), runs scored (41) and doubles (19). The Hawkeyes recruited him as a position player, but may also utilize him on the mound, where he was 5-1 with a 1.07 ERA last season.
“He’s been a major factor in our program the last three years both as a position player and pitcher,” North Coach Rory Jackson said. “One thing that’s special about Robert is that, not only is he a baseball player, but also an athlete. And a great student, too. He’s the full package.”
The 17-year-old (he’ll turn 18 on Nov. 12) son of Tim and Laura Neustrom just finished a banner football campaign in which he hauled in 58 catches for 799 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’ll also move into a starting role this winter for North’s basketball team that made the state tournament last season.
“I give my full attention to whatever sport I’m playing,” Neustrom said. “But baseball has always been what I truly love to do.”
Neustrom hit .415 as a sophomore and .375 during his freshman season. He’ll be able to play his final prep campaign without the distraction of having to make a college decision. North will return a number of key players next summer.
“I think he’s extremely equipped to be a Division I player,” Jackson said. “He will have some acclimation time, but once he catches up he’ll be well on his way.”
An outstanding student (3.9 grade point average), Neustrom was accepted into the University of Iowa School of Engineering when he applied. So for now, that’s the direction he’s heading but isn’t quite sure what other studies he’ll pursue.
Iowa finished with a 30-23 record last season, which was the most wins for the program since 2010.