IOWA CITY, Iowa – It’s that time of year again for the list of indispensable Hawkeyes. For the 2017 rundown, I’m going to release my Top 15 via a countdown. Each day I’ll unveil a new player heading to No. 1.

A lot of media outlets weigh in on the most “important” Iowa players before the season. Everyone uses their own criteria.

For me, it’s not only what a given individual brings to the field, but also who’s projected to be behind him. That’s an important piece to the puzzle. That said, sometimes the backup fills in admirably as cornerback Manny Rugamba did last year.

As with most of these lists, they’re open for interpretation and debate. That’s the fun part of compiling them during the dog days of summer.

NO. 15 – Miles Taylor, SR, Strong Safety

NO. 14 – Brady Ross/Drake Kulick, Fullbacks


NO. 13 – Tyler Wiegers/Nathan Stanley, Quarterbacks

Projected backup(s) – Ryan Boyle and Peyton Mansell

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Why They Are Here: For the second day in a row, I’m cheating by using two players for one spot. I wish I could help it but we have a quarterback competition going on around here, people.

Wiegers, a junior, and the sophomore Stanley head into August gunning for the right to replace C.J. Beathard. Normally the signal caller ranks higher on this list, but since the coaches don’t know which player is more valuable, it’s hard to put either in the front of the group.

There’s a decent chance that whomever emerges from this race proves to be one of the most valuable players. That’s often inherent with the position.

It seemed Stanley would be the starter after he beat out Wiegers last fall to become Beathard’s backup. Wiegers served in that role during ’15.

Neither contender has played meaningful snaps in his college career. Beathard was like Mr. Bill from the old Saturday Night Live fame (yes, I’m old. Google it).

Stanley boasts the louder tools, to borrow a baseball term. He spins the ball impressively and also moves well for a big guy.

Wiegers is more Jake Rudock. He’s solid. He’s reliable. Some will take that to mean he’s not as talented. They shouldn’t. Multiple factors go into being a good quarterback.

Making matters more interesting is the lack of experience at the wide receiver and tight end positions. Green quarterbacks will be relying on unseasoned pass catchers. The line and running backs are experienced, which should aid in the growing process, at least that’s the hope.

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Wiegers and Stanley are coming off uneven springs. They’re searching for consistency and that very likely could separate them.

Here’s a look at Stanley stepping in for a few plays when Beathard was hurt against North Dakota State last year:

Here’s a look at some highlights of Wiegers and Stanley from spring practice in West Des Moines: