Iowa is as old school as they come. They still like to run a Fullback and to throw to the Tight End and I like it. They play solid defense and run the ball down their opponents throats. They don’t always have the athletes to get it done efficiently, but head coach Kirk Ferentz has done pretty well overall.
Iowa has never been a true football powerhouse consistently. Hayden Fry was the previous coach at Iowa and he was there for 20 years compiling a 143-89-6. Fry took Iowa to 3 Rose Bowls which was almost unheard of at the time.
His best season was 1991 when he took the Hawkeyes to a 10-1-1 record. Ferentz took over for Fry in 1999 and has a 108-79 record. But, from 2002 through 2004, Ferentz’ Hawkeyes went 11-2, 10-3, and 10-2 which has to be the best period in Iowa Hawkeye football history. Since that time, in 2009, the Hawkeyes went 11-2 and won the Orange Bowl.
The Hawkeyes only went 8-5 in 2013, but they have the talent to beat that mark in 2004, possibly.
Iowa is not a hot bed of high school football talent, so they have to recruit nationally and especially for the positions that require speed.
Jake Rudock (6-3, 205) is capable of getting it done. He threw for 2,383 last season on 204 completions in 346 attempts. He threw for 18 TDs but also had 13 INTs and that number has to go down dramatically in 2014.
Rudock also ran for 218 yards and 5 TDs. He played high school ball at the famous St Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale and has a 4.0 in microbiology/pre-med.
CJ Beathard (6-2, 205) was the back up last season and should be again in 2014. Nic Shimonek (6-4, 210) and Justin Joyce (6-0, 170) are redshirt freshmen and Tyler Wiegers (6-3, 190) is a 4 star incoming freshman.
Mark Weisman (6-0, 240) is a Fullback playing Runningback for the Hawkeyes. Last season, he ran for 975 yards and 8 TDs.
Jordan Canzeri (5-9, 190) is a nice change of pace back that ran for 481 yards in 2013. Damon Bullock (6-0, 200) also played a lot and ran for 467 yards.
Markel Smith (6-0, 210) is an incoming freshman from St Louis. CJ Hilliard (5-11, 185) is another incoming freshman. There are plenty of bodies at Runningback for the Hawkeyes.
If the Hawkeyes want to play a Fullback, they have Adam Cox (5-11, 230) who rushed for 16 yards in 2013. Macon Plewa (6-2, 235) had 1 carry for 7 yards.
Kevonte Martin- Manley (6-0, 205) was the leading receiver last season with 40 catches and 5 TDs. Tevaun Smith (6-2, 200) also returns after hauling in 24 passes a year ago.
Jacob Hillyer (6-4, 210) caught 11 passes. Those guys should all start next season and be backed up by Derrick Willies (6-4, 205), Matt VandeBerg (6-1, 170) and Damond Powell (5-11, 180). VandeBerg caught 8 passes in 2013 and Powell caught 12.
Tight End should be Ray Hamilton (6-5, 255) and he caught 8 passes last season or Jake Duzey (6-4, 245) who caught 19 passes. The
Brandon Scherff (6-5, 320) is the Left Tackle and one of the top players in the country. At Right Tackle, Andrew Donnal (6-7, 305) also returns after playing both guard and tackle last season.
Jordan Walsh (6-4, 290) started every game at Right Guard last season.
Austin Blythe (6-3, 290) earned some honors at Center last season. Redshirt freshman Sean Walsh (6-3, 285) is supposed to start at Left Guard.
The Hawkeyes need to avoid injury at all cost because they have little depth at Tackle.
The Hawkeyes always play good defense but they lost 5 out of their top 7 tacklers from a year ago including all 3 of their LBs who were among the best in the country.
Drew Ott (6-4, 265) returns at Defensive End after making 50 tackles and 2.5 sacks. Nate Meier (6-3, 235) moved from LB in the Spring to back up Ott.
The other end is Mike Hardy (6-5, 275) and he had 34 tackles and 1.5 sacks in 2013. Riley McMinn (6-7, 265) should back him up.
Melvin Spears (6-2, 265), Torey Hendrick (6-4, 225) and Matt Nelson (6-7, 240) could help out here as well. Hendrick is a JC transfer.
Carl Davis (6-5, 315) is a beast at Defensive Tackle and will be backed up by Darian Cooper (6-2, 285) who is pretty good also.
Louis Trinca-Pasat (6-3, 290) is really good at the other tackle, too. Faith Ekakitie (6-3, 290) and Jaleel Johnson (6-4, 310) should battle it out for playing time at tackle.
MLB should be Quinton Alston (6-1, 230) who played a little bit last season.
The Weakside Backer should be Reggie Spearman (6-3, 230) who played enough to register 10 tackles in 2013. Strongside should be Travis Perry (6-3, 230). This bunch has little experience but they do have some talent.
Strong Safety John Lowdermilk (6-2, 205) was the team’s 4th leading tackler in 2013 and is back for his senior season.
Free Safety should be Jordan Lomax (5-10, 200) who started 1 game last year. But Texan Anthony Gair (6-2, 200) could challenge for the starting spot.
Desmond King (5-11, 185) at one Cornerback was one of the team’s best players last year as a freshman. He was 6th on the team in tackles as a corner.
Maurice Fleming (6-0, 190) should start at the other corner. Sean Draper (6-0, 190) is experienced and could play also.
The Hawkeyes have a very favorable schedule in 2014 and could make a move to win their division.
I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the Iowa Hawkeyes at the top of the Big 10 and playing in the championship game.