Hawkeye Hits will run each Tuesday and Friday morning on Hawkeye Insider before 9 a.m. CT and is a story meant for only premium members. It is pertinent and noteworthy information about the Iowa Hawkeyes gathered by our insiders over the past handful of days. Other premium information can also be found on the message board, The Swarm.
Hawkeye Hits will bring you the inside information you desire on the Hawkeye football team, the Hawkeye basketball team, any other sports, as well as recruiting nuggets.
The Tuesday August 25 edition begins NOW. Grab your coffee and donuts!
*C.J. Hilliard has left the Iowa program as many already know. His departure was announced by head coach Kirk Ferentz late last week. He has since transferred to Ohio University of the MAC conference to continue his playing career. His exit was not a surprise, and a move best for both parties. Hilliard was not going to be playing for the Hawkeyes anytime soon, as signified by not being invited to Fall camp. Up to 105 players can be invited to Fall camp and he wasn't one of them.
*Senior Cole Fisher has been named by Iowa coaches as the starting weakside linebacker headed into the season, joining Josey Jewell and Ben Niemann in the starting group. It's a move that comes as a surprise to me because of how impressed I was by Bo Bower during the scrimmage. If anything else, it means they have four pretty good linebackers on their hands, and the more the merrier for the Hawkeyes. It won't happen early in the season, but Aaron Mends is still a guy to keep an eye on as the season progresses. He's an elite athlete, so once he figures it out upstairs and is able to play as fast and athletic as he is, look out.
*The starting offensive line has been tinkered with quite a bit throughout Fall camp to find a rotation they like, have the best five on the field, and also to develop the next man up. I'm told that at the last scrimmage the first unit offensive line was again Boone Myers, Jordan Walsh, Austin Blythe, Sean Welsh, and Ike Boettger from left to right.
*Obviously Cole Croston and Eric Simmons have been moved around some as well. It is expected that Croston will be the backup at both tackle spots, while Simmons is the first man up on the interior. James Daniels is very, very good for a freshman and what his contribution would be is still not known. He figures to be a starter on the interior next year, so though he may not be ahead of Simmons, I still see no chance of him being redshirted.
*Iowa's big target, Noah Fant of Omaha (Neb.) South, had a decision set for this upcoming Friday and it was seemingly down to UCLA and Iowa, though Nebraska, Cal, and Vanderbilt are considered finalists as well. Fant was offered by Arizona State over the weekend, causing him to consider about holding off on his college choice. After a day or two of discussion with his family, Fant will still be making his commitment this upcoming Friday. So, after all that, where do the Hawkeyes stand? Field of study, comfort with the coaching staff, and distance all are positives for Iowa so it's difficult not to love where they stand for him. LeVar Woods has been huge in this recruitment, and could notch a significant recruiting win.
*I'm also told that Iowa wants to continue to add to the offensive line with the 2016 recruiting class, particularly offensive tackle. Matt Farniok of South Dakota is the top target there, but far more unlikely to come to Iowa City than Fant. The Huskers have been ahead for his services for a while, and I'd still expect Nebraska to win that battle. So where else is there to look at the position? The Hawkeyes are one of a few schools that have offered Alaric Jackson out of Detroit. He's a project with upside, and his recruitment has been quiet lately. Look for it to pick up after coaches have a chance to check out his senior film.
*It was a good first week for the Iowa commits. Only a few were in action but all had strong performances. Running back Toren Young collected 266 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Running back pledge Toks Akinribade added 108 rushing yards of his own along with a score. Quarterback commit Nathan Stanley threw for 152 yards and had a touchdown strike, while linebacker pledge Kristian Welch had a big night, running for 110 yards and two touchdowns offensively, returning a kick for a score, and also securing a defensive touchdown.
*How do the Hawkeyes look for point guard Charlie Moore? That will be the question week after week, day after day. He's the guy they're targeting at the spot they need to fill. Thus far, no official visit has been scheduled to Iowa but he has been to campus before. Four other official visits have been set, but there's a chance one of them won't be taken. His Illinois visit is still several weeks out, and the Illini are hosting Xavier Simpson on an official visit this upcoming weekend. They'd be out of the chase for Charlie Moore if they were to land Simpson, and it would also keep Simpson away from the Cyclones.
*Another thing to consider, what Cassius Winston does could have an impact on all this. The loser for his services, Michigan or Michigan State, could turn around and put the full court press on Simpson, and that would not be a good thing for the Hawkeyes.