The Iowa football team returns a bevy of talent in the defensive backfield. They bring back the reigning Jim Thorpe Award winner in Desmond King, a proven senior corner in Greg Mabin, and a hard hitting strong safety in Miles Taylor.
The only question mark is going to be who replaces Jordan Lomax at the free safety spot. By all accounts, it appears that it will be sophomore Brandon Snyder, who was just awarded a scholarship and named the starter this summer.
Now, I called it a question mark, but there are a lot of people that don't feel that way. At 6'1" 210 pounds, Snyder fits the build of a safety and has proven to be your typical hard hitting Iowa safety that we have seen in the past. Lomax could pack quite the punch last season, along with Tyler Sash when he was wearing an Iowa uniform. And those are just two of the hard hitters that come to mind at the moment.
He appeared in just five games last season as a walk-on redshirt freshman, but did record 11 total tackles in what was mostly a season spent on special teams for Snyder. But now he finds himself thrust into the starting lineup.
For Snyder, I don't think it could've happened in a better year for a young guy like him. He is surrounded by three guys who carry a ton of experience and will undoubtedly speed the more inexperienced Snyder along. That will only help him when it becomes his turn to teach younger guys.
He was a heck of an athlete in high school, playing quarterback for his West Lyon team and then also sliding in on the defensive side of the ball. That alone proves that he has the physical tools, we just need to see him put it all together.
It's kind of hard to predict what he'll do and how effective he'll be, but the upside is there for him. He's been impressive throughout the fall and that has prompted a lot of people to peg him as a player that could have a breakout season for the Hawks, including myself.
He has had a couple to years to learn what is expected him, so he has been able to sit back and mature, which will help with his development over the course of this season and the next two as a Hawkeye.
He's not going to be perfect, but I believe Snyder is going to turn some heads. He's in a defensive backfield with a lot of talent so that may be difficult, but Snyder will have his moments this season. However, he will make some rookie mistakes as well.
All in all, Brandon Snyder could be primed for a breakout season this fall.