Derek Young of Hawkeye Insider takes his first glance at which true freshmen will redshirt and which ones will see the field right away as Fall Camp kicks off today, Thursday August 4. Iowa signed 24 in the 2016 class that enrolled over the summer. However one already left school in safety Lance Billings, dwindling that number down by one.
The Hawkeyes also will add safety Noah Clayberg of Pella, Iowa. The incoming freshmen won't join the football team until January as he begins as a gray-shirt player, meaning he can't join the team until after this season but will go on scholarship.
For this version, Clayberg and Billings won't be included, as we analyze the outlook of all 23 true freshmen on campus.
IOWA TRUE FRESHMEN
QUARTERBACK NATE STANLEY: Stanley has a world of talent and might prove to be tough competition for Tyler Wiegers in the quarterback battle next year but there's no reason for him to see the field this year. Redshirt.
RUNNING BACK TOREN YOUNG: One running back most likely sees the field so that they can have a year separation between the two true freshmen. Young reminds a lot of LeShun Daniels and can have an impact at some point but don't think it will be this year. Redshirt.
RUNNING BACK TOKS AKINRIBADE: I think Toks is the running back that finds the field first. His raw athleticism and college-ready body is most likely more suited to be ready earlier. Young is a more developmental type back. I think Young could be better in the long run but Akinribade will be ready sooner. No Redshirt.
WIDE RECEIVER DEVONTE YOUNG: This would be the year once again for a true freshman to play right away at this position as they did last year with Adrian Falconer and Jerminic Smith. However, it's doubtful Young reaches that point. Redshirt.
TIGHT END SHAUN BEYER: At least one tight end will play away due to the questions on the depth chart behind starter George Kittle. I'm not sure they've settled in on one for-sure position with Beyer even though he's listed at tight end. Because of that and some physical maturation needed, I don't think he'll be playing on Saturdays this year. Redshirt.
TIGHT END T.J. HOCKENSON: Two true freshman tight ends could end up seeing the field. But I'm going to stick to there being just one. Hockenson is a great receiver but likely will have a ways to go as a blocker, and that's a big part of the Iowa offense for a tight end. Redshirt.
TIGHT END NOAH FANT: I think he's the prime candidate to play right away out of the tight ends. It could end up being a lot too. Kirk Ferentz and C.J. Beathard lauded his abilities when they were in Chicago for Big Ten Media Days. He's a natural pass catcher, tremendous athlete, has the size, and more advanced as a blocker. No Redshirt.
OFFENSIVE TACKLE ALARIC JACKSON: Offensive linemen rarely have their redshirt burned, unless they're special and college-ready as soon as they hit campus like James Daniels. Jackson is a definite project. Redshirt.
OFFENSIVE GUARD COLE BANWART: Iowa is just fine at offensive line and don't need anyone to play right away. Redshirt.
CENTER SPENCER WILLIAMS: Listed as a center, but his first real playing time could be as a guard as he waits in the wings behind Sean Welsh and James Daniels. That playing time shouldn't happen this year but he'll be a definite contributor at some point. Redshirt.
DEFENSIVE END CHAUNCEY GOLSTON: He's kind of a freak athlete that should be a heck of a pass rusher at some point in his career. Iowa needs that pass rushing ability now but he's more of a project that still has some physical maturation to undergo. Redshirt.
DEFENSIVE END BRANDON SIMON: He compares favorably to the likes of Nate Meier and Parker Hesse. He's in that type of mold. They don't need that right now. They could use some special teams help and it's not out of the question that he's athletic enough to provide that but I'm leaning towards 'no' on him being that guy. Redshirt.
DEFENSIVE END ROMEO MCKNIGHT: He has the body and pass rushing skills that would make him a definite candidate to play right away if not for his ACL injury last season. I think he'd probably play as a true freshman if he wasn't still recovering from that somewhat. Redshirt.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE CEDRICK LATTIMORE: I think he's the best defensive lineman that they added in the 2016 class. He has a college-ready body now and is skilled enough to play right away. Not only that but he's versatile enough to play some on the outside and inside. That combination of flexibility, physical build, and skill should allow him to play right away in my opinion, especially when Iowa may need some help along the defensive line. No Redshirt.
DEFENSIVE TACKLE AUSTIN SCHULTE: Iowa could use some help on the defensive line but they have Lattimore that is further along in development and can play both defensive end and defensive tackle. That should allow them to redshirt Schulte and allow him to develop at his own pace. Redshirt.
LINEBACKER KRISTIAN WELCH: Iowa burned a redshirt off one linebacker a year ago for special teams help in Jack Hockaday. Welch is quick and athletic enough to be that guy this year. He's someone that could even play some offense. But they have a few true freshmen that could do that and I don't think they burn the redshirt of all of them so it likely comes down to which ones can contribute at their position sooner. I'm not sure Welch is that guy. Redshirt.
LINEBACKER NICK NIEMANN: Niemann is another that can contribute on special teams easily right away. However, can he contribute at his position this year or the following season? It's hard to see that with Hockaday, his brother Ben, and Aaron Mends all returning for 2017. This is a candidate to have his redshirt burned but the safe answer right now is no. Redshirt.
LINEBACKER AMANI JONES: I don't believe he's the quick-twitch athlete that Niemann, Welch, and Wade are. They are better options to play on special teams right away than Amani Jones and there's no immediate need at linebacker. Redshirt.
LINEBACKER KYLE TAYLOR: I think Taylor is the biggest project of all the linebackers. That should keep him on the sideline in 2016. Redshirt.
LINEBACKER BARRINGTON WADE: Wade has a college-ready body now, could become an inside linebacker, and is a very good athlete. He was a star running back for his high school. Those kinds of skills and tools should enable him to see the field at least as a special teams contributor, plus he may be ready to contribute at his position a year from now. No Redshirt.
CORNERBACK CEDRIC BOSWELL: The cornerback depth is slim and they'll want to get one of their freshmen playing time this year so that they are ready and have at least a little experience to draw from when they are inserted in the two-deeps a year from now. There's also a chance both could get that playing time this year, and be a mainstay on special teams. It's a safer bet to only go with one right now and I'd have Boswell trailing Rugamba. Redshirt.
CORNERBACK MANNY RUGAMBA: There's a lot of signs pointing to Rugamba not redshirting this season. One of the freshman corners has to get some playing time this year and I think he's the better of the two at this stage. He's a great athlete as well. No Redshirt.
SAFETY AMANI HOOKER: They'd probably love to redshirt Hooker but they may not have the luxury. He's a playmaker and an incredible athlete. The safety depth chart is so slim right now and he'll be only one of three returning scholarship safeties a year from now, alongside Brandon Snyder and Miles Taylor. Anthony Gair will graduate. Hooker will play next year. That should mean he needs to play this year and be a factor on special teams. No Redshirt.
No Redshirt (6): Toks Akinribade, Noah Fant, Cedrick Lattimore, Barrington Wade, Manny Rugamba, Amani Hooker
Redshirt (17): Nate Stanley, Toren Young, Devonte Young, Shaun Beyer, T.J. Hockenson, Alaric Jackson, Cole Banwart, Spencer Williams, Chauncey Golston, Brandon Simon, Romeo McKnight, Austin Schulte, Kristian Welch, Nick Niemann, Amani Jones, Kyle Taylor, Cedric Boswellnull