One of the more impactful players on the defensive side of the ball for Iowa is clearly defensive end Drew Ott. They're a different team when he is in the lineup and healthy. He provides a pass rush that they weren't able to muster without him on the field.
After suffering a couple different injuries, including an ACL tear that ended his season, Iowa and Ott have submitted a waiver to the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility. That would be a big coup for the Hawkeyes if they get one more year of Ott and in full health. It seemed unlikely from afar since Ott did play in six different football games for the Hawkeyes this season. However, there may be some hope for Iowa after all.
"I've learned a couple things that make me a little bit more optimistic, but still, it's hard to say where it's going to go," Kirk Ferentz said about the situation surrounding his star defensive end and a possible fifth year of eligibility.
Ferentz clearly has reason to believe good news is at least a lot more possible than once thought. He continued by saying, "I'm a little optimistic right now. I've learned some things that give me some hope, but we'll see where it goes."
No decision has been made and no final conclusion has been expressed to the University of Iowa, the football program, or Drew Ott and his family at this time. They are just waiting like everyone else. While the reason for optimism is unclear, it is obvious that Kirk Ferentz was particularly a bit excited over the possibility.
And why not? If Ott does return, Iowa returns their entire starting defense outside of Nate Meier, Cole Fisher, and Jordan Lomax. That is from a defense that was particularly stifling last season, the Rose Bowl notwithstanding. It would be huge news for the program to have an impactful pass rusher with experience out there at 100 percent.