IOWA CITY, Iowa - The Iowa defense will have holes to fill on the line and linebacker, but the starting secondary comes back intact. One key guy considering an exit to the NFL is returning.
Three-year starting cornerback Matt Hankins is putting his NFL dream on hold to fine tune his game for the highest level. He's currently training intensely at home in Texas.
Christian White, Brand Ambassador for Under Armour and lead trainer of Flight Skillz, has been working with the Lewisville (TX) Marcus High graduate back home this month.
"Matt Hankins is returning to school. He has some stuff to work on but looking forward to a great season," White told HN.
The Hawkeyes will be replacing starting defensive linemen Chauncey Golston, Daviyon Nixon and Jack Heflin along with key reserve Austin Schulte. Starting linebackers Nick Niemann and Barrington Wade also are moving on. Hankins, fellow cornerback Riley Moss, CASH Dane Belton, and safeties Jack Koerner and Kaevon Merriweather are the starters returning in the backend.
Hankins (6-0, 180) is the most experienced member of the secondary. He comes back having started every game (26) in which he's been healthy during the last three seasons, accumulating three interceptions and five pass breakups.
While he could have taken his shot at the NFL this spring, much like Hawkeye offensive lineman Alaric Jackson coming back after last season, Hankins hopes to find consistency in college making him even more attractive to the pros.
"We've been working on footwork and being more aggressive in coverage," White said of his workouts with Hankins.