Beat: Is It Great to be a Hawkeye or What?

This is the first installment of HTO's newest column, in which I will recap the latest around the Hawkeye world and add my insights. After experiencing a great weekend in Minneapolis, I did not have difficulty in getting writing material. After all, isn't it great to be a Hawkeye!

Many had hoped for a big game from Brad Banks yesterday to catapult him into the front spot of Heisman consideration. The coaching staff appeared to have a plan in assisting Banks with opportunities to make big plays, but the lack of a big game showed why this Hawkeye team is so fantastic. The Gopher defense centered around Banks and controlling him in the pocket, and that opened doors for the Hawkeye running game. With yet another game of two 100 plus yard rushers, the Hawks did not need Brad Banks to win the game for them. The balance of this Hawkeye offense is plain out incredible, and its been documented by many around the country as one of the best in college football the past few years. Brad stepped to the plate, and once again played a game that did not put Iowa in position to lose. He continued to have a good effort, and still managed to score four touchdowns.

Speaking of Banks for the Heisman, is there really anyone else in the country who deserves the award? Ken Dorsey's has the achievements, but his numbers really are not all that great for the amount of talent at the skill positions. Willis McGahee has the numbers and performances, but is canceled out in east coast votes by Ken Dorsey. Chris Brown and Kliff Kingsbury are potential contenders, but both need to have win the Big 12 Championship, and have big games doing so, which each of their teams probably require. I also believe Jason Gesser and Carson Palmer are hurt by the factors of weak defenses in the Pac 10, and their votes being canceled out in the west coast. Therefore, Banks presents the numbers, performances, big plays, and plays the most critical position on a winning and re-surgent football team. Therefore,'s official vote, with the consensus of the writing staff, goes to Brad Banks!

How many Hawkeyes will be drated in this upcoming NFL Draft? Many raved about Miami(FL) and their draft day performance last year, including the amount of first and second round picks, but the Hawks could be equalling those numbers in the lower rounds. Eric Steinbach shows the most potential out of the Hawkeye senior class likely being taken in the 2nd or 3rd round. After that, Colin Cole, Fred Barr, Bruce Nelson, Brad Banks, and Derek Pagel seem to becoming shoe-ins to be drafted. Also, David Porter, Andy Lightfoot, Ben Sobieski, and CJ Jones all have outside shots in being taken. Lightfoot has been of the biggest and most unheard of surprises this fall. With Ben Sobieski's highly materialized starting job never fulfilling, Lightfoot actually graded out the best in many of the Hawkeye games reviewed by coaches. Expect him to receive a strong recommendation from Coach Ferentz. If all the mentioned above Hawks are drafted that equals eleven, which is actually the amount of Hurricanes selected in 2002. (Also, none of the four junior Hawks, who all look promising to be taken in first five rounds, Dallas Clark, Robert Gallery, Nate Kaeding, and Maurice Brown, were mentioned).

I remember in Coach Ferentz's second year coaching, I was told by one assistant coach that one of Wisconsin's graduating Rose Bowl classes produced 11 current NFL players. That was one goal he expressed in determining the Hawks make a Rose Bowl. It appears when the NFL season starts in 2003 and possibly beyond, the Hawks may very well have matched that goal. That also holds true in the Hawks earning a Rose Bowl berth.

The Hawkeye Men's Basketball team opened their season this past Wednesday evening, and showed an early glimpse of this team's heart and determination. While sitting on the bench, Coach Alford had informed the team while struggling to a five point deficit in the 1st half, that he had no one on the bench to turn to or substitute. It was quickly after the Hawks had started their run, eventually earning a fifteen point victory. Freshman Greg Brunner was not hesistant to tell Basketball Editor Matt Hass to inform internet Hawkeye fans "to not be too judgemental" in a rather nice way. These players are still fighting and expecting winning games here in Carver-Hawkeye Arena!

On the football recruiting front, the Hawks have a big upcoming weekend for official visits. RB Travis Thomas, one of the Hawks highest offensive priorities, will be making his official visit. With only Boston College remaining on the visit list, the Hawks are in a very good position to overcome the early mentioned favorite, Notre Dame, to land his services. Would it not be sweet revenge in losing Chris Olsen, Nate Schiccatano, and Trevor Laws to Notre Dame in landing Chris Leak, Travis Thomas, Mike Jones, and Tommy Zbikowski over the Fighting Irish. Certainly, Iowa would win the overall battle!

Now switching gears to the basketball recruiting front, the Hawkeyes hosted premier in-state junior combo forward Alex Thompson this past weekend. Alex, a native of Gilbert, IA who currently attends Ames High School, is the Hawks top forward priority in the Class of 2003. Hawk fans should know the Hawks view Alex in a very similar way they viewed Nick DeWitz, and it should be no surprise that is whom they'd like Alex to come in and replace!

This is my first beat installment, and please do let me know your suggestions and comments on any of our available forums. We continue to strive in bringing you the best and most inside information and insights on the Hawkeye program! We'd love to hear all your opinions and insights, as well!

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