Countdown – 15 Most Indispensable Hawkeyes for 2018 – No. 5

August 17, 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

Projected Backup – Geno Stone.

Continue reading below

Reason He’s Here – Hooker just continues getting better after pushing his way into the starting lineup last season. He began the campaign as a reserve but became one of the better defensive players by year’s end.

Hooker became more known to Hawkeye fans after picking off the opening pass of last season’s game against Ohio State and returning it for a touchdown, setting the tone for one of college football’s biggest upsets of the year. His 12 tackles (eight solo) paced Iowa in its Pinstripe Bowl win against Boston College in September.

He stood out during April’s open spring practice at Kinnick Stadium. He did the same at Kids Day on Saturday.

If you’re looking for potential all-Big Ten level breakout players on this year’s team, Hooker is an excellent choice. He could end up being the most complete safety of head coach Kirk Ferentz’s era, and that’s saying something.

With a young group of cornerbacks, Hooker will fill a leadership role in the secondary this year. He does a good job in that regard both by example and vocally.

Stone is a developing backup but Hooker being out of the lineup for any length of time this year could prove costly.

Trending in Forums View All >

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeyes Continue Making Positive Impression on Indy WR David Bell

Rob Howe

September 23, 2018

Four-star prospect discusses weekend visit to Iowa.

Schwartz: Game 4 – 10 Thoughts in 10 Sentences

David Schwartz

September 23, 2018

Looking back at Saturday night’s painful loss for Iowa against Wisconsin.

Howe: Beast of the Big Ten West Takes Out Hawkeyes Again

Rob Howe

September 23, 2018

Wisconsin keeps success rolling against rival Iowa.

HN TV: Paul Chryst talks Comeback Win at Iowa

Rob Howe

September 22, 2018

Wisconsin coach meets with media after Saturday’s game in Iowa City.

Photo Gallery: No. 18 Wisconsin Comes Back to Top Iowa

Rob Howe

September 22, 2018

Pictures Saturday night’s Hawkeye-Badger game at Kinnick Stadium.

INSTANT REACTION: Badgers Rip Out Hawkeye Hearts….Again

Jon Miller

September 22, 2018

Instant reaction podcast following Iowa’s 28-17 loss to Wisconsin, a game that Iowa handed to the Badgers…and the Badgers did not hurt themselves.

HN Staff 6-Pack of College Football Picks for Week 4

Rob Howe

September 21, 2018

Selections against the point spread.

Bigger Ten Podcast: Week Four Predictions

Jon Miller

September 20, 2018

Miller and Deace offer up their predictions for Week Four of the 2018 college football season, including Wisconsin at Iowa, which ‘might’ decide the Big Ten West champion…in the Big Ten opener?  Can this be so?

TOP