You are not going to find many in Iowa City who have the strength of TE Tony Jackson. Compared to teammates, Tony's raw strength is near the tops. It's that strength and a good amount of speed for weighing 270 that has left Hawkeye coaches wondering when the potential will be filled. With Dallas Clark no longer around, this spring will be the perfect opporunity for Tony to take the starting position. What hurts his chances? The word around Iowa City is that Tony needs to perform on a more consistent level. The effort given and performance doesn't seem to be seen on an everyday basis leaving the staff currently in favor of starting Erik Jensen. Now that Tony knows a starting spot is open; will he be a name to watch for this spring?
Fabian Dodd will enter this spring, most likely, as the starter alongside Jared Clauss. That move will not last very long, though, with potentially Jonathan Babineaux or Derreck Robinson making the move inside. Fabian is another Hawkeye with a great amount of strength, but his physical shape is still not where it needs to be in the staff's eyes. That is another reason why its widely believed the staff will look to find a starter alongside Clauss via a position switch.
Could Steve Burch be a contender as a starting DT? Not yet! Steve's maturity level is not quite where the staff would like it to be, including a number of on the field fights he was involved in at practice this past fall. One fight is what helped lead to the injury of OL Brian Ferentz. Steve is tremendously talented, and will be a major contributor for the staff in the future. First, the staff will look to make sure Steve does well in the classroom and behavior on and off the field. It is the same process that many others, including Jermelle Lewis, have gone through after stepping on the campus.
One freshman, who is currently red-shirting, we've heard has crept his way into the doghouse. Could news be following this spring?
Expect Erik Jensen to be used more in a "H-Back" role this year. A tremendous blocker, Erik could be lost in the shuffle with a potential addition of a TE and the emergence of Tony Jackson. Edgar Cervantes was disappointing on a few occassions this past season with his blocking performances, and Erik could be used in many short yardage situations as a lead blocker.
Also, as it's been stated on a few different occasions here at HTO.com, you can fully expect that QB Jason Manson will play in at least one series of every game next fall.