DT Colin Cole has assumed the defensive line leadership role formerly held by Aaron Kampman. This is no small task as Kampman was an excellent leader. However, Colin has an excellent set of vocal chords and has displayed them for all the linemen to hear. One recipient of many of his blasts has been DT Fabian Dodd. His admonishing of Dodd is more important now in the wake of some recent academic troubles (below). Fabian is very strong and should provide adequate help while learning this year. All defensive lineman should take caution that this is not a summer to play around.
The defensive line will not have incoming JUCO DT Wesley Thibeaux. Sources have indicated that he is the lone non-qualifier in this incoming class. Since Thibeaux is a run stopper deluxe, that means someone must step up.
The wide receiver position is perceived as one of Iowa's weakest in terms of personnel. That may not be the case in terms of talent. However, experience is sadly lacking. The first three receivers (CJ Jones, Ed Hinkel & Mo Brown) are pretty well set. Ramon Ochoa could do well as the #4 receiver. However, closing in at the speed of Dwight is City High recruit Calvin Davis. Calvin is inexperienced with only two years of high school football. However, he has great wheels and a soft pair of hands. He may play albeit with a limited playbook. The best part of Calvin is the endurance he maintains with his speed as he should be able to continually stay on the field, if that means going from special teams right into the receiving corps.
The Iowa defensive backfield should be one of the best Hawk editions. Four experienced, savvy starters return along with some physical specimens (Roberts) and some true frosh with immediate playing time potential (Johnson & Williams). However, D.J. Johnson is the talk of summer workouts. He has stayed after the conditioning sessions this summer to do extra work. In addition, he has encouraged counterparts Benny Sapp and Bob Sanders to hang around after workouts to do more wind sprints. Not only is DJ's ankle healthy now, he has added more strength and more speed. His fifth year senior maturity is really showing in his preparation for the season. Therefore, look for the defensive backfield this year to be a well-oiled, cohesive unit.
Nathan Chandler is progressing nicely at quarterback. Coach Ken O'Keefe loves Chandler's tremendous work ethic. Although he still has work to do, Nate is light years ahead of where Banks was in the same scenario a year ago. The staff feels that he will be a solid #2 QB this year. Nate will have to continue to work hard and improve because the staff will not hesitate to move a young QB along quickly.
Jovon Johnson has already been showing his sleeper qualifications at the Big 33 game workouts. Incoming Pitt QB Tyler Palko found out he may not want to play Iowa in his college career when he was deceptively intercepted by Jovon in an attempted pass to incoming Notre Dame WR Maurice Stovall. Fellow incoming recruit OL Chris Thomas has looked and played huge, also. Chris still has to work with his raw talent, but all indications have pointed that he is quailified to enroll this fall, despite rumors to the contrary.
Like HTO.com reported a month ago, Aramis Haralson has moved back to the defensive backfield. The staff is looking for consistency and discpline from Aramis, and this will be the year he has to show it or he may be lost in the shuffle.
Recruiting is going very well for the Hawkeyes. The Hawks could end up signing two QB's again this year, which could fuel some position moves. There has already been talk about Matt Bohnet moving, but he'll have a chance this fall to earn his spot in the rotation. Clint Solomon is a lock to move to WR, and word on the street is Cy Phillips could end up as a TE, with his athletic ability.
The offensive line needs some young depth and it is the high priority on the recruiting trails this season. However, high school talent alone may not be everything the staff looks for. HTO.com is not necessarily implying JUCO transfer, either.
It has been a summer packed of good and bad for Hawk fans. Hopefully, as the fall clouds enter, all the troubles will be swept away. It should be an exciting season for Hawkeye football!