Derek's Donuts is a premium feature now on Hawkeye Insider distributing all the inside information learned throughout the week. The inaugural piece dishes the latest on Iowa football as they unwind after a season in which they reached the school's first Rose Bowl in 25 years. It also gives the latest on the recruiting trail with National Signing Day less than a month away.
*Quarterback commit Nate Stanley of Wisconsin is being pursued aggressively by the Badgers. The in-state school has been in catch-up mode ever since Paul Chryst was hired as the school's head coach last offseason. The previous staff did not display the same kind of interest level which allowed Iowa to come in and make Stanley a Hawkeye. Despite the push from Wisconsin it is still believed that he will sign with Iowa on NSD.
*Defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore came out in the past week and confirmed to Scout that he would not be visiting Michigan State despite receiving an offer from the Spartans in the last month. Scout informed premium readers that it was unlikely that the offer from MSU would have an impact when it was handed out to the Hawkeye pledge at the time. That is still the case. Iowa should be able to hang onto both of their four-star pledges in Stanley and Lattimore.
*Two commits that could take visits elsewhere are running back Toks Akinribade and tight end Noah Fant. Akinribade is still mauling a few official visits and is hearing from multiple programs at this time. Fant was a pledge that was not exactly 100 percent firm when it happened but the Hawkeyes have been fighting to hang on this whole time and it has worked thus far. Still, a few official visitis to finish out the process would not be a surprise. Some schools that have also been in heavy consideration the whole time are Nebraska and UCLA.
*If there were a few departures from the class, that would obviously shake up the numbers some but right now it appears that only spot is available, maybe two. The priority is offensive tackle Matt Farniok. He had a good week at the U.S. Army All-America Game festivities. He will officially visit Michigan State on the weekend of January 23 followed by an official visit to Iowa on January 30. He's visited Nebraska far more than any other school and has already used his official visit to Lincoln. Those are the three schools in the mix with the Huskers entering this part of the process with a slight lead. In-home visits with head coaches will also begin in a few days.
*If Farniok does not go Iowa's way, they will push for an official visit and commitment from offensive tackle Alaric Jackson of Detroit. He is considering Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Michigan State. His preference is the Spartans but he has not gotten the green light from them. If he doesn't, it's a pure Big Ten West battle for his services and where Farniok signs will play a factor since three of the four schools vying for Jackson are also the top competitors for Farniok. In other words, not a lot has changed.
*On the current roster side of things, both interior lineman James Daniels and cornerback Josh Jackson had surgeries in the past week and both were successful. Daniels' surgery was to repair the meniscus and clean up his knee a bit. It was an injury that occurred midseason and he played with it the rest of the way. It has been mandated he stays off of it for a month and he's being advised to sit out spring football which will probably be the case. Jackson's surgery was even less worrisome and he's expected to be available during spring football but they'll probably be cautious with them.
*I'm being told that one player that has taken a big leap in the past handful of months is backup quarterback Tyler Wiegers. He's not the athlete that C.J. Beathard is and he may not possess the arm strength but he's one of the more improved players on the team according to sources. It also helped him a lot that he was able to take a ton of first-team repetitions during the season when Beathard was hindered. There was two game weeks where Wiegers took nearly all the first team snaps. His understanding of the offense and comfort with it came a long way in that time. He won't be asked to do a whole lot but his development has been noticeable.
*The first full depth chart of 2016 listed an offensive line with Cole Croston at left tackle, Boone Myers at left guard, James Daniels at center, Sean Welsh at right guard, and Ike Boettger at right tackle. I'm told the reasons for Croston on the left have to do with him being the best tackle in pass protection. It would make sense to have the best pass protector on the left side. To get the best five on the field, Myers or Boettger go to left guard and right now that is Myers. I'm also told the plan is to definitely go with Daniels at center and not guard. His time off during spring football should not affect that.