Countdown to Kickoff: Tony Moeaki

When Tony Moeaki committed to Iowa in January of 2005, he was rated as the top tight end prospect in America. In 2007, the depth chart has been cleared and it's Tony's time to shine. We continue our Countdown to Kickoff 2007 with this profile of Tony Moeaki

REPORT CARD TO DATE: Incomplete To give Tony Moeaki any kind of letter grade to this point would be unfair to the kid.

I am sure that I will continue to sound biased on the Moeaki front, but he's the best tight end prospect that I have ever seen. Of course, I don't make my living evaluating prospects, and my expertise on tight ends isn't world class status.

But when I saw this kid torching All American cornerbacks down in San Antonio for the US Army All American game back in January of 2005, I was sold. When I saw how he filled out his uniform as a true freshman at Iowa, I was more sold.

Now, as he enters his third year on Iowa's campus as is a true junior, it's his time to shine. A few things have kept the lid on his ‘breaking out' as of yet; one of those things was the relationship that Drew Tate had with Scott Chandler. Chandler proved to be a highly productive tight end, one of the most productive in Iowa history. I think that is a function of Scott's ability to create mismatches with his height, in addition to Tate's choosing to find him, his security blanket, on a lot of plays. The other aspect is that Moeaki is just an exceptional blocker and has been from the minute he set foot on campus. That, along with his athleticism at the position, is going to mean an NFL career for Moeaki once his Iowa eligibility expires.

To say that Moeaki is on a short list of players I am most excited to see this year would be an understatement; I think that he is poised for a ‘Hello, America' type of season, after recording just 19 catches for 252 yards in his first two seasons. He had three touchdown receptions last year, and this might be a wild prediction, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Moeaki get close to 10 in 2007. That will depend on how Iowa's offense plays this season. If the offensive line development is adequate to solid, then it's going to be an offense that could hurt most of the teams on its schedule. You can't cover everyone, especially when you get backs out into the slot, such as Albert Young. That's going to leave either Young or Moeaki with a linebacker on them, and that is advantage Iowa. Those two should be able to exploit most of the safeties they will face this year, too.

Scott Chandler caught 93 balls for 1,144 yards and eight touchdowns over the past two seasons. Moeaki is going to approach, or exceed those numbers. Or at least, that's what I think he will do…and again, with his blocking abilities, he will begin building a resume for the NFL that should see him taken on the first day. I know that some of you haven't seen it, but I am staking my tight end evaluation reputation on the line here, saying it will happen, if Moeaki stays healthy.

2007 OFF SEASON PERFORMANCE: Moeaki suffered a shoulder injury early in spring drills, so that shut down his April practice sessions. Kirk Ferentz said that Moeaki would be ready to go for fall camp, which is little more than a month away right now, and he did not have to undergo surgery for the injury. Moeaki was listed at 6-4, 250 last year, which is good enough to dominate at his position. He and quarterback Jake Christensen have been friends since their recruitment, they played on the US Army team together, and Jake knows the kind of weapon that he has at his disposal.

THIS AND THAT: If Moeaki has the kind of break out year that I and others expect, there will undoubtedly be a discussion regard his not redshirting in 2005, which leaves him with just two years to go. Again, it's my belief that his exceptional blocking abilities are attributable here; he has just been outstanding in that area since his arrival on campus. He caught just eight passes in 2005, and some wonder if that was a wasted year, for someone with his talents. THE TONY MOEAKI FILE

One of four sophomores selected to 2006 Leadership Council . . . one of five true freshmen to play in 2005 . . . one of seven Iowa recruits to participate in 2005 Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, TX . . . selected to 2005 Leadership Council.

2006 Honors - - Next Man In Award, special teams.

2006 - - Listed as second team tight end following spring practice . . . saw action in 41-7 win over Montana as offense gained 416 yards total offense . . . had no statistics vs. Montana . . . saw action in double overtime win at Syracuse, but had no statistics . . . saw action in win over Iowa State . . . one reception for a 19-yard touchdown came in the third period vs. Iowa State to tie the score at 17-17 . . . 19-yard TD catch vs. Iowa State marked first career touchdown . . . saw action in win at Illinois . . . had two receptions for 49 yards vs. Illinois, including 35-yard scoring pass in the second quarter for second career touchdown . . . saw action in loss to top-ranked Ohio State, but had no statistics . . . saw action in win over Purdue as offense reached season high marks in points (47) and rushing yards (286) . . . two receptions for 27 yards vs. Purdue, including a long of 19-yards to set up an Iowa touchdown . . . saw action in loss at Indiana as offense gained 467 yards total offense, but had no statistics . . . saw action in loss at Michigan, recording one reception for four yards . . . saw action in win over Northern Illinois as offense gained 405 yards total offense . . . one reception for 13 yards vs. Northern Illinois . . . saw action in loss to Northwestern, recording one reception for four yards . . . saw action in loss to Wisconsin . . . one reception for four yards and a touchdown vs. Wisconsin, his third scoring reception of the season . . . saw action in loss at Minnesota, with one reception for 12 yards, as offense gained season-best 546 yards total offense . . . saw action vs. Texas in Alamo Bowl, recording one pass reception for eight yards.

2005 - - Saw action in opening win over Ball State, recording three receptions for 28 yards . . . saw action at Iowa State, but had no statistics . . . saw action in win over Northern Iowa, recording one reception for 36 yards . . . saw action at Ohio State, but had no statistics . . . saw action in win over Illinois, recording one reception for 12 yards . . . saw action in win at Purdue as offense gained season-best 535 yards, but had no receptions . . . saw action in win over Indiana as offense gained 425 yards total offense, but had no statistics . . . saw action vs. Michigan, with one reception for 18 yards . . . saw action at Northwestern, recording one reception for 16 yards . . . saw action in win at Wisconsin, recording one reception for two yards . . . saw action in win over Minnesota, but had no statistics as offense gained 613 yards total offense . . . saw action in Outback Bowl vs. Florida, but had no statistics.

High school honors - - First team all-American by Riddell, second team by USA Today... first team all-state selection by the Champaign News-Gazette, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, IHSA and Coaches Association . . . two-time first team all-area and all-conference... Career - - recorded 975 yards and nine touchdowns on 59 receptions... also recorded 66 pancake blocks... had a career-high 465 yards and five touchdowns as a senior... averaged over 16.5 yards per reception in his career... three-time letterwinner in football, where he played tight end, fullback and linebacker... also a two-time letterwinner in basketball and tennis.

Personal - - Born 6-8-87 . . . open major . . . parents are Sione and Lose Moeaki . . .attended same high school as OL Dace Richardson . . . high school coach was Ron Muhitch.

Moeaki's Collegiate Stats

Receiving

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Lng

Freshman

8

112

14.0

0

36

Sophomore

11

140

12.7

3

35

Career

19

252

13.3

3

36


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