I know there shouldn't be a whole lot to talk about here but I kind of consider this an open competition as well. Senior Jordan Canzeri leaves giving the Hawkeyes one less guy but still quite the arsenal. LeShun Daniels began last season as the starter and hopped in and out of that role due to injuries. With Canzeri suffering a couple dings as well, Derrick Mitchell and Akrum Wadley got their chances as well. And to be quite honest, all had very, very impressive moments. So despite Daniels being listed as the starter, I don't think he's necessarily a shoe-in with Akrum Wadley nipping at his heels.
To be fair, I think both Daniels and Wadley get the amount of carries each wants with Derrick Mitchell being the third down back. True freshman Toks Akinribade probably plays a very, very small amount as well and special teams to give a year separation between him and fellow freshman Toren Young. Eric Graham probably gets the reserve carries, along with Mitchell and perhaps Toks. That probably doesn't bode very well for Marcel Joly.
I think Daniels keeps the job but he isn't running away with it. Wadley deserves the ball, too.
THIRD, FOURTH, AND FIFTH WIDE RECEIVER SPOTS
This is probably the most intriguing position on the offense for the spring portion. And it will likely be the most intriguing offensive spot again during the Fall. They lose Tevaun Smith and Jacob Hillyer to graduation so there's two spots open. It's likely only one that's really open as Jerminic Smith should have Tevaun's spot locked down on the outside. Matt VandeBerg will probably remain inside because of his size and short space quickness. They'll need another outside body which is likely down to Jay Scheel and Adrian Falconer.
I think Jonathan Parker plays but I don't see him breaking into the top three. Riley McCarron is listed as the third guy right now but I think his game better reflects VandeBerg's spot so I can see him remaining in the same spot of the rotation he was a year ago. I think all six of Jerminic, VandeBerg, Parker, Scheel, Falconer, and McCarron play and the order and roles are the only thing that needs established right now. Emmanuel Ogwo probably breaks in when games are out of reach.
So who gets the third spot? That should be an intense battle between Scheel and Falconer. Falconer has more of the body for it but does have it all figured out upstairs to be on the field in a regular capacity? Scheel has the tools and a bit more experience but is he finally healthy enough to make that leap? I'll lean towards Scheel for now. Jerminic and VandeBerg are 1 and 2. Scheel could grab 3. 4 and 5 would be McCarron and Falconer just like a year ago. Parker and Ogwo fall in line behind them.
BACK-UP TIGHT END
We know that with Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger Coble departing, it's George Kittle's world now. He should be special if he continues on the upward trajectory he's been in. What's it look behind him?
I'm not so sure the Spring will tell us a lot at this spot. I think Jameer Outsey beats out Jon Wisnieski and Peter Pekar. The real battle should come in the Fall when Outsey will be battling the true freshmen at the spot that are all pretty heralded. I think Noah Fant could have a say at some point and perhaps T.J. Hockenson. But for now, this is Jameer Outsey's job to lose.
BACK-UP OFFENSIVE LINE
We know what the starting five will be. From left to right all expectations are that it will be Cole Croston, Boone Myers, James Daniels, Sean Welsh, and Ike Boettger. That's an impressive group considering all played a ton of snaps a year ago. That's like bringing back the entire starting five even though they lost Austin Blythe and Jordan Walsh. They'll miss the locker room presence, preparation, and leadership from the two departing seniors. That's a lot of career snaps to replace but at the same time all the replacements are very talented and have plenty of experience to plug in and play.
It's about the next two or three guys that Iowa likes to have ready. It appears the candidates will be Steve Ferentz, Dalton Ferguson, Keegan Render, Brett Waechter, and Ryan Ward. That's the second unit on the depth chart. Waechter gets the nod as a redshirt freshman which kind of tells me they are high on him. Render stepped in a year ago against Wisconsin (and got beat well) but that sort of indicates that he's probably higher in the order. I'd imagine those two will have the first opportunities. Ferguson and Ward will look to make a move in the Spring.