Countdown – 15 Most Indispensable Hawkeyes for 2018 – No. 3

August 19, 2018

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – I started this exercise last year in July. As you can see, this summer has been a little busier.

Beginning today, we’ll count down the 15 most indispensable Hawkeyes for 2018. These are the players I believe the team can least afford to lose by way of injury, suspension, alien abduction or some other unforeseen reason.

I use several factors in generating this list. It starts with a given player’s ability. From there, experience, depth at a position, perceived development and a general sense of the roster are considered.

I’m guessing you guys will see things differently than me, at least to some degree. That’s OK. There’s plenty we don’t know at this point.

I had Manny Rugamba on this list last year and not Josh Jackson. That seems silly now but made sense at the time.

Let’s see if I can make a fool of myself again. I’m confident I can.

No. 15 – Alaric Jackson, Left Tackle

No. 14 – Amani Jones, Middle Linebacker

No. 13 – Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Wide Receiver

No. 12 – A.J. Epenesa, Defensive End

Continue reading below

Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

No. 11 – Parker Hesse, Defensive End 

No. 10 – Toren Young, Running Back

No. 9 – Jake Gervase, Free Safety

No. 8 Miguel Recinos

Continue reading below

No. 7 Nick Easley, Wide Receiver

No. 6 T.J. Hockenson, Tight End

No. 5 Amani Hooker, Safety

No. 4 Keegan Render, Center

No. 3 Anthony Nelson, Defensive End

Continue reading below

Projected Backup – Sam Brincks.

Reason He’s Here – Nelson continued his upward trend with a strong sophomore season in 2017. He paced the Hawkeyes with 7.5 sacks and added 9.5 tackles for loss.

He’s succeeded with speed and athleticism during the last two campaigns. While he’s retained those things, he’s added strength and power that has him poised for a breakout on a national scale this fall.

Nelson has improved against the run the last two seasons and should be even better moving forward. He’s also done a good job getting his long arms up in passing lanes even when he can’t get all the way to the quarterback.

Iowa enjoys good depth at end with Parker Hesse, A.J. Epenesa and Sam Brincks, who is listed as Nelson’s backup. Brincks likely will see more reps inside this year, however.

And there’s no doubt Nelson holds a big key to Iowa’s success this season with the team breaking in three new starting linebackers and his ability to make plays.

Trending in Forums View All >

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeye History Podcast: Tangela Smith

Rob Howe

July 16, 2019

Catching up with former Big Ten Player of the Year and new Iowa Hall of Fame inductee.

Kiyron Powell Sees Iowa as Excellent Opportunity

Rob Howe

July 15, 2019

Evansville (IN) power forward plans to visit Hawkeyes.

Bigger Ten: 2019 B1G Predictions

Jon Miller

July 14, 2019

Deace shares his final Big Ten predictions for the 2019 football season in this episode of the Bigger Ten podcast.

HN Podcast: Top 25 & Bowl Predictions

Jon Miller

July 14, 2019

This week’s HN Podcast focuses on Deace’s Top 25 and his final bowl projections.

Schwartz: Ten Sentences – Stats Tell A Story

David Schwartz

July 14, 2019

Nate Stanley has Chuck Long in his sights.

The Complete All-Kirk Ferentz Team

Rob Howe

July 13, 2019

A compilation of all positions after 20 years heading the Hawkeyes for the dean of college coaches.

All-Ferentz Team: Quarterback

Rob Howe

July 13, 2019

Ranking the top signal callers.

All-Ferentz Team: Defensive Back

Rob Howe

July 12, 2019

Sifting through the deep talent pool in the secondary.

TOP