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Friday Hawkeye Hits: 9/18

Insider notes on Iowa Hawkeyes football, basketball, and recruiting.

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 Friday September 18 edition begins NOW. Grab your coffee and donuts!

FOOTBALL

  • In what will be an inspiring scene, former Hawkeye Brett Greenwood will be the honorary captain for Iowa on Saturday night against Pittsburgh. It will be a raucous atmosphere because it is a night game, but the decibel level could hit new highs when Greenwood walks out for the coin toss. He was once in a coma, suffering an anoxic brain injury. He's been on the road back, recovering, with the help of the Iowa strength and conditioning staff, with former Iowa player Pat Angerer also by his side.

  • Everyone has heard about the wierd set of events surrounding running back Derrick Mitchell since the Iowa State game on Saturday. He was suspended, but quickly reinstated. My bold prediction for the week to watch out for him this week. There were surprise contributors last week, and with LeShun Daniels possibly not being able to play Saturday night, Mitchell could have a significant role.

  • It is only right to touch on those injuries, to running back LeShun Daniels and defensive end Drew Ott. There's no real concrete information out there, but I would not be surprised to see Daniels play, but I would be surprised to see Ott play.

  • Two other injuries being tracked are the ones to tight end Jake Duzey and defensive tackle Darian Cooper. Cooper is not close to a return, but I believe Duzey is. I could see a situation where he gets limited time against North Texas to prepare him in being full-go against Wisconsin in Madison the following week.

  • The defense has been the story in the first game. I see this game going differently. I think it could be the offense. Both teams have shown firepower offensively, and I think that takes center stage Saturday night. I expect a higher scoring affair than the two contests.

  • Jordan Canzeri has the potential to have a big game in my estimation. Pittsburgh likes to be aggressive, and the Iowa staff has taken advantage of overpursuit frequently this year, implementing screen passes often and even a shovel pass. That is Canzeri's bread and butter, and I see that being open quite a bit this week.

  • This could be the week that the Iowa receiving core breaks out as a whole, and it will be needed. They have been improving, but separation is still a concern at some points throughout each game so far. Pittsburgh likes to challenge on the outside with press man coverage under new head coach Pat Narduzzi, and Tevaun Smith, in particular, should have more opportunities to make an impact.

  • The defensive line is off to a great start this year. This week will be their stiffest test, and they'll be challenged to see how they can hold up against a much bigger offensive line as Pittsburgh brings a lot of size to the table along their offensive line.

RECRUITING

  • Saturday will be a big recruiting event for the Iowa Hawkeyes as they host many visitors under the lights in Kinnick Stadium. Most of the commits will be in town, as well as an official visitor, and a few other top targets, for football and basketball.

  • Iowa nearly has a full class for the 2016 cycle, so a lot of the main targets on hand in regards to football recruiting will be that of the 2017 class.

  • The official visitor that will be in attendance is Florida-based safety K.J. Sails. He's one of the top recruits left on the board that the Hawkeyes would like to land. It appears to be a battle between Iowa and Wisconsin, and this will be the last chance for Kirk Ferentz and company to have him on campus before a decision is made. They'll look to seal the deal this weekend.

  • Iowa will also have their most important recruit in the 2017 class inside Kinnick Stadium on Saturday in four-star defensive end A.J. Epenesa of Edwardsville, Illinois. He's not only the 17th best player in the country for his class, but he's also the son of a former Hawkeye "Eppy" Epenesa. This one isn't a slam dunk, but Iowa will be in contention for the top 20 player until the end and that's all you can ask for. 

  • The other big-time recruit that will be in Iowa City is four-star hoops prospect Tyler Cook. He's the top option left on the board. Cook is from St. Louis and is favoring the Hawkeyes and the Florida Gators. This is crunch time for Fran McCaffery and his staff.

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