Iowa Spring Game: Players To Watch

Hawkeye Insider shares a handful of prospects to keep an eye on at the Iowa Spring Game on Saturday.

OFFENSE

1.) Tyler Wiegers - Iowa knows what they have in C.J. Beathard but there's only a year left of him. Wiegers has improved and developed quite a bit according to his coaches and teammates and a lot of it was due to the fact he was able to accrue a lot of first team snaps while C.J. was injured throughout last season. The Spring Game won't tell us a lot but it should show us if he's more comfortable with the offense.

2.) Jay Scheel - Offensive coordinator Greg Davis anointed him as the fourth wideout over Jonathan Parker and Adrian Falconer. He made a nice catch in West Des Moines. Can he continue his momentum? That's a big storyline.

3.) Keegan Render - Iowa usually plays more than five linemen. Brian Ferentz says that Render is the sixth guy so it'll be interesting to see how he does against the Hawkeyes first team defensive line.

4.) Jerminic Smith - He oozes potential and he flashed last year as a true freshman. Is there a noticeable improvement in his game? 

5.) Ryan Boyle - He won't be live but I'm intrigued to see what kind of progress he has made and to see his athleticism on display. His athleticism is so much that he has participated some in kickoff coverage according to Greg Davis. It might be the beginning of him moving to another spot or he might just be one of the finer athletes on the team that they want to find a place for. 

6.) Jonathan Parker - According to Bobby Kennedy and Greg Davis, he is no longer just the jet-sweep guy. I think he's in line to get snaps as a true wideout and to be the fifth receiver this year. Let's see if he flashes some on Saturday. He did in West Des Moines.

7.) Akrum Wadley - He's added a bit more weight and is now a tad over 190. Is the speed still there? Probably, but we want to see it in person. How does the weight make him a better player? We may not find out Saturday but it'll still be something worth monitoring.

DEFENSE

1.) Aaron Mends - He's fun to watch because of how athletic and explosive he is. Once he gets it all upstairs, he's going to be tough to handle. He's a ball of energy. I think he'll be a fan favorite.

2.) Michael Ojemudia - Josh Jackson hasn't put the pads on this Spring or participated when contact is allowed. Maurice Fleming is gone. Greg Mabin is out for the Spring. Ojemudia probably is the first team corner on Saturday alongside Desmond King. That's a big opportunity for him to show everyone what he's made of.

3.) Matt Nelson - He's getting over an ankle injury but he's now 100 percent and should be a full participant tomorrow. The lengthy defensive end has improved his pass rushing ability according to Phil Parker but it'll be interesting to see it live in person on Saturday. 

4.) Jack Hockaday - I think it's Mends' job but more than three will play this season. He's playing for any snaps and that probably comes down to him and Bo Bower and who plays each of the three spots the best. He has a lot to prove to get on the field. Mends and Bower are tough competition.

5.) Brandon Snyder - He's the free safety. I thought he played well a year ago so it's no surprise to me that he's owned it and become a regular. I think he keeps his job but ending spring football on a strong note would be a good move for him. 

6.) Anthony Nelson - He's a pass-rushing specialist according to Phil Parker. He could be used on third downs this year as a rush end by all accounts. Saturday could be his opportunity to showcase that skill.

7.) Michael Slater - Iowa needs depth along the defensive line. They know they have it with Faith Ekakitie. They think they might have it with Anthony Nelson, Jake Hulett, and Michael Slater. He was out last Spring so now is his time to put it on the field in a big moment. He's a massive dude that will catch the eyes of all the observers on hand. 


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