Howe: Projecting Iowa Football’s First Depth Chart for Upcoming Season

July 28, 2020

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Yes, I know, the college football season could hit a coronavirus roadblock. Maybe it won’t be played this fall. As of now, it’s on and I’m writing about it.

Iowa’s workouts ramped up Friday when it went from eight hours a week to 20. For the first time since COVID-19 wiped out spring practice, the Hawkeyes have returned to on-field instruction with coaches.

Training camp is scheduled to kick off on Aug. 7.

With that in mind, let’s construct a projected depth chart. Here we go:

OFFENSE

QB

Starter – Spencer Petras, RS SO
Backup – Alex Padilla, RS FR

Skinny: Petras seems well ahead of the field here, so the competition comes down to Padilla and true freshman Deuce Hogan facing off to be his backup. It makes too much sense to red shirt Hogan.

RB

Starter – Tyler Goodson, TR SO
Backup – Mekhi Sargent, RS SR

Skinny: Iowa uses a time-share in the backfield and the top two guys will see plenty of work. Ivory Kelly-Martin heads into camp as the No. 3 with the potential to increase his workload.

FB

Starter – Monte Pottebaum, RS SO
Backup – Turner Pallissard, RS SO

Skinny: The competition to replace the talented Brady Ross could be a tight one. Iowa likes to use multiple players at fullback and a committee approach is a good one at an unforgiving position.

LT

Starter – Alaric Jackson, RS SR
Backup – Jack Plumb, RS SO

LG

Starter – Mark Kallenberger, RS JR
Backup – Justin Britt, RS FR

C

Starter – Tyler Linderbaum, RS SO
Backup – Cody Ince, RS SO

RG

Starter – Cole Banwart, RS SR
Backup – Kyler Schott, RS JR

RT

Starter – Coy Cronk, RS SR
Backup – Nick DeJong, RS FR

Skinny: Jackson and Linderbaum seem like the only guys locked into their spots. Competition at the other positions will be stiff with the potential for moving parts. Cronk could kick inside, Kallenberger could end up outside, and a guard rotation is probable. And there’s plenty of talent behind the 10 players listed here.

TE

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Starter – Sam LaPorta, TR SO
Backup – Shaun Beyer, RS SR

Skinny: LaPorta established himself as a threat during the second half of last season and showed up on the Mackey Award preseason watch list. Beyer is poised for a strong senior season. Josiah Miamen will compete with incoming freshmen Elijah Yelverton and Luke Lachey for No. 3 on the depth chart.

WR

Starter – Ihmir Smith-Marsette, TR SR
Backup – Oliver Martin, RS JR

Starter – Brandon Smith, TR SR
Backup – Max Cooper, TR SR

Starter – Nico Ragaini, RS SO
Backup – Tyrone Tracy, RS SO

Skinny: Don’t get caught up in Tracy being listed as a backup here. He’s the most versatile receiver in the group and will see starter reps along with Smith-Marsette, Smith and Ragaini. How many snaps are available beyond the top four and who gets them is the biggest question here.

DEFENSE

LE

Starter – Chauncey Golston, RS SR
Backup – John Waggoner, RS SO

LT

Starter – Daviyon Nixon, RS JR
Backup – Noah Shannon, RS SO

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RT

Starter – Jack Heflin, RS SR
Backup – Austin Schulte, RS SR

RE

Starter – Logan Lee, RS FR
Backup – Zach VanValkenburg, RS SR

Skinny: Iowa will continue employing a rotation on its defensive front and several guys have position flexibility. Nixon can slip outside, while Waggoner and Lee are capable of moving inside. Replacing AJ Epenesa’s pass rushing disruption is key and that will be a group effort.

WLB

Starter – Djimon Colbert, RS JR
Backup – Seth Benson, RS SO

MLB

Starter – Nick Niemann, RS SR
Backup – Jack Campbell, RS FR

LEO

Starter – Barrington Wade, RS SR
Backup – Jestin Jacobs, RS FR

SKINNY: With the decreased use of the LEO, moving Niemann to the middle makes a lot of sense. It gives Campbell another year of development and puts a talented veteran on the field more.

CASH

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Starter – Kaevon Merriweather, RS SO
Backup – Reggie Bracy, TR FR

LC

Starter – Matt Hankins, TR SR
Backup – Terry Roberts, RS SO

RC

Starter – Riley Moss, TR JR
Backup – Julius Brents, RS SO

FS

Starter – Jack Koerner, RS JR
Backup – Dallas Craddieth, RS SO

SS

Starter – Dane Belton, TR SO
Backup – Sebastian Castro, RS FR

Skinny: The secondary competition will be interesting. It’s a talented group, which gives coach Phil Parker options. Redshirt freshman cornerback Jermari Harris is someone capable of pushing his way into this two-deep.

SPECIALISTS

K

Starter – Keith Duncan, RS SR
Backup – Caleb Shudak, SR SR

P

Starter – Ryan Gersonde, RS JR
Backup – Nick Phelps, RS SO

LS

Starter – Austin Spiewak, RS SR
Backup – Zach Kluver, RS FR

KR

Starter – Ihmir Smith-Marsette, TR SR
Backup – Daraun McKinney, RS FR

PR

Starter – Max Cooper, TR SR
Backup – Nico Ragaini, RS SO

Skinny: Freshman punter Tory Taylor’s continued delay in arriving from his native Australia reduces competition at that position until he can arrive. After that, he’ll quarantine. Duncan and Smith-Marsette are among the best nationally at their respective spots.

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