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The Friday September 4 edition begins NOW. Grab your coffee and donuts!
Tomorrow is the first gameday of the year for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Don't expect any surprises. I think the starters will look exactly like the two-deep they released earlier in the week.
- One mystery for the team this year will be how they use and rotate the wealth of running backs on the roster. It seems as though Eric Graham will redshirt, and that Akrum Wadley is down the list quite a bit. LeShun Daniels is the listed starter, but the coaches have also had strong comments about the great play of Jordan Canzeri. I think that it will be the case of the hot hand. Whoever is feeling it, will likely get the bulk of the carries. First up, LeShun Daniels. Second man up, Jordan Canzeri. Derrick Mitchell will probably the be the back that gives both a breather.
- The defensive tackle is expected to be similar, and it's always good to keep the front four fresh, anyways. The starters are Nathan Bazata and Jaleel Johnson. However, Faith Ekakitie should see his fair share of snaps as well.
- Expect Drew Ott to have a big day against Illinois State. I think he will be unblockable for the new offensive tackle starting for the Redbirds. They'll have to overcompensate on that side once they figure out that they need help to contain Ott.
- Iowa's secondary should allow them to load up the box. Against the new wide receiver core, I'd press and challenge them early and make them prove that they can beat my defensive backs.
- If Iowa comes in with a great game plan and contain quarterback Tre Roberson, they can come out of Kinnick Stadium with a comfortable win tomorrow.
- Which freshmen will play? Jerminic Smith at receiver, for sure. James Daniels is another that will not redshirt, but it's unclear what the offensive line rotations will like. On special teams, I expect to at least see freshmen Michael Ojemudia, Jack Hockaday, Angelo Garbutt, and most likely Adrian Falconer. Emmanuel Ogwo has been complimented on his play and speed as well, but I don't think Iowa will want to burn the redshirt of all three rookie wideouts.
- Iowa got their point guard about a week ago in Jordan Bohannon, an in-state prospect from Marion. It dampened the hopes of many who were hoping for Charlie Moore to be the point guard of the class. It was evident that Fran McCaffery and the company were not all that optimistic about their chances by turning their sights to Bohannon.
- The Hawkeyes will host their top overall target in the 2017 class this Saturday. Iowa's best prospect, offensive tackle Tristan Wirfs of Mount Vernon, is visiting Iowa once again. He's rated as a four-star prospect, and a top 300 recruit overall. This is a big deal for Kirk Ferentz and Iowa. The top linemen keep leaving the state like Ross Pierschbacher to Alabama, and now in the 2016 class, John Raridon is committed to Nebraska and Jake Heinrich to Arkansas. Right now, Iowa would be my pick for Wirfs.
- Iowa still wants an offensive tackle in the 2016 class. Matt Farniok is the top choice, and an unlikely one. However, I expected him to be locked up by Nebraska by now. The longer it goes, the more it makes you wonder. Who's the next tier for his services following the Huskers? Iowa and Missouri.
- Farniok is the top choice but they're going to keep their hand in other cookie jars for now. They want to walk away with a quality recruit, and another to keep an eye on is Alaric Jackson out of Renaissance High School in Detroit. He hasn't set any of his official visits but they are expected to be to Illinois, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
- Another target for Iowa is defensive tackle Jovan Swann out of Indiana. It's a battle for the Hawkeyes with Stanford, Northwestern, and Indiana. However, Notre Dame is still in the mix despite not offering and he will visit there this weekend. That's one to keep an eye on. If the Irish offer, it's probably a done deal for the program in South Bend.