Follett: No Regrets on Move to Tight End

Imagine this scenario: You are a linebacker at Iowa in the 6-foot-4, 230-pound range. It's the end of your redshirt freshman season, and you just witnessed a linebacker turned tight end win the Mackey Award. Then, the Iowa coaches come to you and ask you if you would like to switch to that position. What are you going to say? That was the exact scenario that was presented to Mike Follett. He accepted the challenge, and is looking for some green pastures this season.

When Mike Follett arrived at Iowa, he was excited to finally get his chance to play defense full time

He split duties between safety and quarterback at Des Moines Valley, and was slotted at the ‘Leo' position when he got to Iowa City.

But in the winter of 2003, the Iowa coaches came to him and told him they felt he could be a good tight end.

Follett went along with the sales pitch, and why not? He had just witnessed another linebacker turned tight end in Iowa All American Dallas Clark.

Now a junior, Follett is looking to make an impact on Iowa's offense in 2004.

You look around now, and you are one of the upper classmen. How does that make you feel? It's gone by pretty fast, hasn't it?

Yeah, its definitely gone by fast. I look around and I am one of the so to speak ‘veteran' guys. It's exciting to be able to teach some of the younger guys the ropes, and hopefully I can be a leader out there.

You had a chance to learn from Dallas Clark two years ago and Erik Jensen last year. This year, it's you and Tony Jackson. Do you feel that the two of you are going to make a step up and return the tight end position at Iowa a little closer to what you had with Dallas?

We are definitely looking to do that. With Dallas being the player he was, that will always be tough to fill those footsteps. You have Tony, Champ (Davis) Ryan (Majerus) and me; I think we have a good group. I think we can make an impact on the offense.

When you were first approached about the position change, what did you think about that?

People changing positions and having success at Iowa was comforting. Coming from defense, where I played that since I got to Iowa, I looked at it as an opportunity to get on the field faster. With Grant Steen being at linebacker, there is only one inside linebacker that can play at a time. So the move was good for me.

Any regrets now that Grant is gone and now you could be fighting for that spot?

There could have been some competition between me and the other guys, and being a part of that great defense would have been fun, but I am very happy being a part of the offense.

I believe you when you say that, but there is something of a glimmer in your eye. Do you think you will always wonder what might have been had you stayed on defense?

I have always loved defense, mostly because I never really got to play it. I was going to play it in high school, but they put me at quarterback. I was going to play defense when I got here and I thought that was going to be great.

Last year, it appeared that maybe you were more dinged up than people let on. Was that accurate?

I was more banged up because I was playing more. I was happy with that. The pain on Sunday's was easier to take because I was playing. Being sore without playing would have been much worst.

I received a lot of predictions from Iowa fans this off-season, and the average win total from the fans was like 9.5. Do you feel those expectations are fair, unfair or too early to tell?

I would say it's too early to tell. The fans will always be optimistic. But we are going to take one at a time and hopefully things go well.

How does it make you feel when you learn that the magazines are picking you to finish high in the Big Ten and you have the lofty preseason rankings?

It makes you feel good. Getting those accolades are great, but they are from last year's record. You never know if those things come true, because we have not done anything yet this year.


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