Top 10 Hawks

This year, it's not the "Iowa's most indispensable players" list. It's the 10 best Hawkeyes on the 2012 roster.

Iowa CITY, Iowa - I was going to sit down and write another "Most Indispensable Hawkeye" column usually trotted out at this time of year. Then, I called an audible.

I'm not reinventing the wheel of cliched preseason pieces. I'll continue ranking Iowa players. What I hope happens is that the modest change will allow for outside opinion, plenty of it opposing mine.

The rating will be of Hawkeyes' best players. Simple, right? Not necessarily.

There are no guidelines to producing your pecking order. Use your own definition(s):

10. Brandon Scherff, LT, So. - A lot of potential here, but he still has to consistently prove it on the field. He's taking over for a first-round draft pick in Riley Reiff who replaced a first-round draft pick in Bryan Bulaga. No pressure, Brandon.

9. Brad Rogers, FB, Jr. - I'm probably penalizing Rogers because he isn't asked to do a broad range of things. He basically beats up linebackers, a practice of which I approve. I think he might get a chance to expand his role in '12 with the youth in the backfield and his untapped skill set.

8. Tanner Miller, FS, Jr. - It seems like Miller improves every game and that's a good sign for he and the coaches. He'll be breaking in a new starter at SS, so he will be challenged at a high level in '12.

7. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Jr. - It looked like the light bulb went on for this physical freak in the second half of last season. If he takes the next step this fall, he'll be at or near the top of this list next season…5or in the NFL.

6. James Morris, LB, Jr. - The Solon product was pressed into early duty as a true freshman, but it could pay big dividends this season. If he adds more strength to his agility, he should become a better tackler. If that happens, look out.

5. Christian Kirksey, LB, Jr. - I have him a tick above Morris because I think he looked like the more physical player last year. Kirksey's combination of speed and big-hit capability make him a Big Ten breakout candidate.

4. Micah Hyde - A two-year starter, Hyde's talents don't jump off the page at you, at least not at first. He's more solid than flashy. He has a knack for the big play, but he also works on positioning himself for them.

3. Keenan Davis, WR, Sr. - It would be great if Davis ended up being the best Hawkeye by the end of the year. It could mean the Hawkeyes have done big things. This team needs playmakers on offense and Davis has the ability to be that.

2. James Vandenberg, QB, Sr. - If we collected the lists of all Hawkeye fans, the vast majority of them would have the senior signal-caller in the top spot. There's a great case for it. If he can pick up the tempo this season, all-Big Ten is possible.

1. James Ferentz, C, Sr. - The man in the middle will have the responsibility of pulling together an inexperienced offensive front. It really is the most important component to making Iowa go. The head coach's kid and the O-Line coach's brother doesn't play nice.

FIrst Two Out: B.J. Lowery, Brett Van Sloten.

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