IOWA CITY, Ia. - In his five seasons at Iowa, Tony Moeaki absorbed plenty of criticism for his inability to stay healthy. A lot of it was generated because the tight end flashed so much talent when he was in the line-up.
Moeaki played a huge role in Iowa's run to 11 wins and an Orange Bowl victory last season. When he wasn't delivering highlights, he was absorbing attention, freeing up teammates. He served as the decoy on Marvin's McNutt's game-winner at Michigan State.
Moeaki's exit leaves a void that will be important for Iowa to fill. Allen Reisner moves into the No. 1 tight end slot. That's good news, but in Iowa's offense, at least one and probably two unproven players at the position will need to raise their game.
In the next installment of Hawkeye Insider's Sneak Peek series, we break down the projected depth chart at tight end and fullback:
Allen Reisner, TR Senior - Reisner took the next step in his development in 2009 and appears poised to enter stardom with the Hawkeyes. His blocking improved and he caught 14 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown.
Reisner reminds me a lot of former Hawkeye Brandon Myers, who really emerged as an upperclassman. I think Reisner is ahead of where Brandon was at this juncture of their careers.
Brad Herman, TR Junior - Iowa's coaches saw enough in the Illinois product to play him as a true freshman with Myers and Reisner ahead of him. He took a step back last season mostly because he didn't improve enough as a blocker between his freshman and sophomore seasons.
I'm going to guess that Herman received the message and will realize the opportunity that sits before him. He also understands that the next player we'll list on this depth chart will be after his job.
C.J. Fiedorowicz, TR FR - If Scout.com's No. 2 ranked tight end in the class of 2010 shows he can block in summer camp, he will play. I have a feeling we'll see him next fall.
I watched the Illinois standout during several practices at the Army Bowl last month. He ran great routes, showed soft hands and glided across the field with ease – a natural.
J.D. Griggs, RS Soph - The New Jersey native sure looks the part. He's listed on the roster as being 6-foot-5, 255 pounds and appears to be every bit of that in warm-ups. Unfortunately, all we have to go on is practice and pregame.
Others to watch
-Zach Furlong: Junior from Ohio is competing with Griggs to move up the depth chart.
-Dakota Getz: Redshirt freshman served as triple-option scout quarterback for Orange Bowl prep.
-Zach Derby: Walk-on from Iowa City dressed for home games last season.
Much like the tight end, the fullback plays an important role in the Iowa offense even though it's become a dinosaur in these new fangled spread attacks that are the rage across the country. Although they fly under the attention radar most weeks, guys like Jeremy Allen, Edgar Cervantes and Tom Busch serve as examples of excellence at the position.
Let's take a look at the projected fullback depth chart for the upcoming season:
Brett Morse, RS SR - The Willowbrook, Illinois native enters his third season as the starter. He blocks like a battering ram and also offers the ability to make plays with the ball if the defense falls asleep on him.
Morse caught eight passes for 34 yards and a touchdown last season.
Wade Leppert, RS JR - The Illinois product owns some starting experience he gained during the 2008 season. It's unclear if he has any skills with the ball, but he can block.
Jonathan Gimm, RS SO - Switched from tight end to fullback last season, so you have to figure has an ability to catch the ball.
Others to watch
-Tyler Christensen: Sophomore from Belmond, Iowa has shown potential in practice.
-Jake Reisen: Gray shirt from Iowa City Regina moved from linebacker last spring.