1. Will Mike Follett become the next Dallas Clark? He will be given his opportunity this spring with the move to tight end. Mike has a great frame for the position, and also has excellent mobility. He has great feet that he developed in his soccer days at Valley in West Des Moines. Need I remind you that the last great high school soccer player on the Iowa football team was Tavian Banks? So expect Mike to be in tight competition with Tony Jackson for the starting spot this spring.
2. Another long rumored move has finally occurred. CJ Barkema will be making his debut on the offensive line this spring. At 6'8 270 with only decent speed, there was really no future for CJ Barkema at tight end. However, CJ is a tough kid with good blocking ability. He will immediately join competition for a starting job, and will likely be a #2 entering next fall.
3. In a bit of a surprise move, DE/DT Lee Gray has also made the switch to the offensive line. Gray was becoming too big for the DE position, and lacked the explosiveness possessed by younger DT's Steve Burch, Larry Thomas, George Eshareturi, and Richard Kittrell. Lee will be a bit of a project at the OL so do not expect any contribution next fall, but he will be a guy to keep an eye on come spring of 2004.
4. One more defensive lineman made the transition over to the other side. DE Mike Elgin will now play at the center position, where the staff hopes he will compete with Brian Ferentz as the future starter. Mike will have to put more weight on his frame, as he is currently only 245 pounds. However, he moves very well, is very intelligent and has great desire. In fact, many believe he could be the next coming of Bruce Nelson.
5. With two defections on the defensive line, they gained one addition in the move of Eric Zilisch from Leo linebacker to defensive end. Zilisch was once rumored as a possible move to the OL as the staff was in search of a center. However, Zilisch was injury prone this past fall something that does not fit the mold of the playing days of Bruce Nelson. This move was no surprise and Zilisch could still end up making another move inside to defensive tackle.
6. There is still strong speculation that Jonathan Babineaux will make the move inside to defensive tackle. The staff will be looking to upgrade Matt Roth this spring to a starter. Babineaux struggled in certain parts of defensive end play last fall. However, some question how much weight Babineaux can add to his frame. Jonathan does have outstanding strength.
7. Also, do not be surprised one bit if Chad Greenway is moved over to Leo to back-up Grant Steen this spring. Chad currently has the biggest frame of any linebacker at 6'4 240, and has outstanding speed for his size. This move would also help create an opening for Edmond Miles at the Will position behind Kevin Worthy.
8. On the basketball-recruiting trail, the Hawks are hot in pursuit of California wing forward, Dorell Wright. The 6'6 swingman is the great athlete type of prospect the Hawkeye program has lacked since the days of one year wonder, Ricky Davis. He would be an excellent addition to add alongside Jeff Horner and Pierre Pierce in the backcourt, and reminds many of Michigan's Bernard Robinson. Dorell still has a ways to go in order to qualify so prep school or a JUCO may his first stop. He has already visited Southeastern CC in Burlington two weeks ago where he would re-join his buddy Doug Thomas.
9. Switching back to football recruiting. The state of Iowa next year will undoubtedly be the year of the lineman. There will only be so many offers for the Hawks to extend, but there could be up to ten different legitimate lineman prospects for the Hawks to choose among. The leading contender at this time due to his athleticism is Kyle Wilcox of West Des Moines Dowling.
10. One of the offensive line prospects is Brett Bergman, a 6-4, 340 pound offensive guard from BCL-UW. Brett is related to the Denkinger family. Steve and Mark played baseball at Iowa while their Uncle Don was a MLB umpire. Brett can move and leads some plays on sweeps. He has not had the advantage of a sophisticated weight program or a high level of competition. Chris Doyle could work wonders with his naturally massive body. Like many offensive lineman at Iowa he would need to get his BBD (Body By Doyle) long before he would receive his BA. He has attended both the Iowa and Iowa State camps and is a prospect to watch this summer and fall.