Howe: Five Breakout Players for Hawkeyes in ’19

August 24, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

IOWA CITY, Iowa – We know the setup going into it. Each year, a group of guys move on from college football creating opportunities for others.

While it’s sad seeing fan favorites leave the Hawkeye nest, it’s exciting witnessing new names emerge. Who will they be in 2019?

We’ll get to that in a minute.

First, we don’t all define “breakout player” the same way. Second, there are different levels of fans. You have the die-hard, who knows every name on the roster, the casual, who can name some of the starters, and people in between.

For me, a breakout player is one that’s not a household name but becomes one. It’s not someone who’s earned all-Big Ten honors or started for multiple seasons. And, there are different forms of breakouts, from earning all-league or better honors to playing key roles in the success of a team.

So, what I’m saying is that there are no hard and fast rules here. Our views may differ.

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With that, here are my Top 5 Iowa Breakout Players for 2019:

5. Djimon Colbert, SO, LB – With the Iowa defense evolving to more of a 4-2-5 alignment, the historically prominent linebacker position faces the most changes. While a lot of attention is being focused on the new Cash position, traditional players on the second level remain important. Colbert ranked fifth on the team with 52 tackles last season, his first as a starter. He possesses a nice mix of size, strength and nasty. He supports the run, but the former safety defends the pass well, too. I see some of Anthony Hitchens here.

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4. Cedrick Lattimore, SR, DT – The Detroit product’s progress has been steady if unspectacular and probably too slow for some folks. It’s easy to forget that he didn’t receive a redshirt season that would have helped his development. He’s learned on the job. I see those lessons paying off this season. He’s physically mature and developed through experience. Some folks might peg Daviyon Nixon as the breakout at this position. And that could happen. But Lattimore is my pick for ’19.

3. Nate Wieting, SR, TE – No, he’s not going to be T.J. Hockenson or Noah Fant, Hawkeyes who were the first-ever tight end teammates to go in the first round of the same draft when it happened in April. But Wieting is a ferocious blocker and an underrated receiver. He runs crisp routes and owns a reliable pair of hands. Iowa will rely more on its receivers in ’19, but Wieting will be quarterback Nate Stanley’s security blanket and keep opposing defenses from cheating coverage to the outside and down the field.

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2. Nico Ragaini, FR, WR – From Kevonte Martin-Manley to Matt VandeBerg to Nick Easley, the slot receiver continues playing an integral role in the Iowa offense. While only seeing him during an open practice in the spring and the Kids Day workout a few weeks ago, Ragaini looks like he’s the next in line. Compliments from his coaches and teammates support that notion. The Connecticut native catches everything thrown his way and runs technically sound routes. He also faster than he looks.

1. Chauncey Golston, JR, DE – He understandably gets overshadowed by A.J. Epenesa on the opposite side of him. It’s often pointed out that latter has not started a game, but neither has Golston. Like Lattimore, he’s progressively developed physically and with technique. He’s not the athletic freak that is Epenesa, but he’s no slouch, either. Golston is quick off the edge and plays with leverage good enough that the coaches used him inside at times earlier in this career. I think it’s possible for Iowa to put two D-Ends on the all-Big Ten teams at season’s end.

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