Countdown 2008: Tony Moeaki

Iowa tight end Tony Moeaki was off to a solid start in 2007 before suffering two significant injuries in the second quarter of the fourth game against Wisconsin. Moeaki arrived on Iowa's campus looking like an NFL player, and he has been champing at the bit to get back on the field. Will 2008 be a breakout season for Moeaki? takes a look in our ongoing series of 2008 player profiles

With less than 70 days left before the annual Big Ten Kickoff Luncheon, an event that many view as the unofficial ‘kickoff' to the Big Ten football season, is providing a player by player snapshot analysis of the 2008 Iowa football roster.


We will begin by taking a look at the players that were on Iowa's spring depth chart, then proceed through the rest of the roster's scholarship players and key walkons, and finish with a look at the new faces that made up Iowa's recruiting class of 2008.


Next Up:  Hawkeye Tight End Tony Moeaki


2007 by the Numbers:  Listed as first team tight end following spring practice . . . started at tight end in opening win over Northern Illinois . . . three catches for 32 yards vs. Northern Illinois, including a best of 15 yards . . . started at tight end in win over Syracuse as offense gained 408 yards total offense . . . reached career-bests in receptions (8) yards (112) and touchdowns vs. Syracuse, with scoring catches of 52, five and six yards . . . also had one solo tackle . . . started at tight end in loss at Iowa State, recording three receptions for 26 yards . . . started at tight end in loss at Wisconsin, but suffered injury in first period and did not return to action . . . missed the remainder of the season after injury at Wisconsin and will seek medical redshirt. 


Analysis:  Tony Moeaki has looked like a first day NFL draft pick since the moment he walked onto Iowa's campus; he was 6-4 and nearly 250-pounds ‘right out of the box', if you will.  He played as a true freshman, although he didn't see a lot of passes thrown his way that season or in 2006.  Drew Tate's favorite target that year was Scott Chandler, and Moeaki caught 19 passes during his first two years on campus.  That led more than a few people to wonder about the move to not redshirt him in 2005, but that is nearly ancient history right now.  Plus, Moeaki will likely get a redshirt year for just playing in four games last year, or really, three and a half.  So he will likely have two years of eligibility remaining at Iowa, putting him on pace with the rest of his remaining classmates from the Class of 2005.


Moeaki was on pace to catch more than 40 passes for 550 yards last year before suffering injuries to his wrist and elbow, and he had already hauled in three touchdown receptions.  If the Iowa offense is to shift into a higher gear this year, a productive Tony Moeaki will be right in the center of the action.


He has excellent ‘ball skills' for a tight end and he can run with the best at the position.  Wisconsin's Travis Beckum has put up over 1,800 receiving yards over the past two seasons, and Moeaki certainly has comparable skills.  Moeaki is also an excellent blocker and I believe he still has every opportunity to be a first day draft pick in the 2010 draft.


It all comes down to staying healthy and making the routine plays.  I have seen enough film and workouts (US Army All American Game) from Moeaki to still adamantly feel this way, even though his skills have yet to translate into major production on the field.  I have seen him beat high school All American cornerbacks on wheel routes in practice, and we all got a glimpse of his abilities last year against Syracuse, when the Orange were bound and determined to take away Iowa's running game.  They did, and Moeaki made them pay with eight grabs for 112 yards and three touchdown receptions.  He's the kind of player that can do that more than just once per season.   


Some people might call me too optimistic when I say the following, but I believe that Moeaki has similar abilities to that of former Iowa All American and Mackey Award winner Dallas Clark.  Clark turned his final two years at Iowa into a successful (statistically and financially) professional career.


I think Moeaki can do the same over the course of the next two seasons.  It wouldn't surprise me at all to see Moeaki go over the 600 or 700 yard mark in each of his final two seasons, and coming close to 10 touchdown receptions in each campaign.


He will be all the more dangerous this year with fellow tight end Brandon Myers in the mix, along with a healthy complement of wide receivers. 


Look for a big time breakout year from Tony Moeaki in 2008.


Moeaki's Collegiate Stats                                                      

































Career Bests
Catches:  8 vs. Syracuse, 9/8/07
Yards:     112 vs. Syracuse, 9/8/07
TDs:        3 vs. Syracuse, 9/8/07
Long:       52 vs. Syracuse, 9/8/07


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