Iowa football: Previewing the safeties

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Iowa football player John Lowdermilk is the only returning safety with any meaningful playing time. He will try to lead the safeties to a good season.

Ever since Brett Greenwood and Tyler Sash left, the Iowa football team has always had question marks at safety and this year is no different. They have relied on walk-ons, converted cornerbacks, and players that have not been ready to handle the position yet in the past couple of years. This year is more of the same.

John Lowdermilk (#37, Senior, 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Carrollton (Ohio) HS)

John Lowdermilk is a typical Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz player. Son of an Ohio State football player, he was an overlooked two star recruit. He was projected to play linebacker but at 200 pounds, but Iowa moved him to safety. He avoided redshirt his first season and played in 11 games in both his freshman and sophomore season.

Last season Lowdermilk started at strong safety over presumed starter Nico Law. Coaches said that Lowdermilk was much better in coverage and better at positioning. Lowdermilk showcased those skills last season with 13 starts, 78 tackles, 4.5 TFL, and one interception. He had perhaps the best season at safety since the aforementioned Tyler Sash was playing in a Hawkeye uniform. He was great against both the run and pass.

As a returning senior, he will have to direct a back seven with new linebackers, a new corner, and a new safety. This is his fourth year in the system so he knows what to do. He just has to put it all together. Expect a great season from him; he might even improve on his honorable mention all-conference honors.

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Jordan Lomax (#27, Junior (RS), 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, DeMatha Catholic HS (Upper Marlboro, Md.)

For the past 3 seasons, Lomax has been a cornerback. Now, lack of depth (and perhaps talent) at the safety position has the coaches switching Lomax over to safety. This happened a couple years ago when Iowa switched Micah Hyde over to safety. That lasted for two games after they let Iowa State and most notably, the infamously bad Steele Jantz, score 44 points on them.

After the products of that position change, I am a little scared to see what this one will bring. Lomax played safety in high school and this is his fourth year in the program so he knows what to do. It will be interesting to see if they will stick with this. Iowa has three players fighting for the open cornerback spot, so they feel like Lomax is a way better upgrade than them and move him back. The safety role at Iowa is way more undervalued than the cornerback position which is shown by Iowa’s reliance on walk-ons at the position. If they feel that Lomax at corner would better help the team they won’t hesitate to make the switch back.

I think Lomax will stay at cornerback, at least to the start of the season. After a few games Iowa may make the switch back but it’s hard to say until a game is played. Lomax will presumably play well; he has the coach’s faith. Whether that playing time will be at corner or safety is yet to be determined.

Anthony Gair (#12, Sophomore (RS), 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, Prestonwood Christian H.S. (Plano, Tex,))

Gair is the only listed back up safety on the two deeps after Nico Law’s departure from the team. The depth chart is pretty old so hopefully soon we will know who is listed behind Lowdermilk. Gair is also the only back up safety on the roster that has seen any playing time, and his was mostly on special teams. Yeah, isn’t Iowa’s depth at safety pretty scary? If Lomax does get moved back to corner, Gair will most likely be the one taking his place at safety. It will be interesting to see how far along he is in the developmental process. He will see the field some this season and hopefully he produces.

Solomon Warfield (#32, Freshman (RS), 6-foot-0, 180 pounds, St. Edward H.S. (Lorain, Ohio))

I am going to take this stat from the always great about Solomon Warfield. Besides Micah Hyde’s quick spell at safety, Iowa hasn’t started a safety that weighs less than 200 pounds. While the roster needs some updating, he still might be at 180 pounds. If that is true, Warfield may be moved to cornerbacks. He was practicing with them during the spring and he may continue to if he doesn’t grow in size. There were high hopes for him when he came to campus as he wasn’t a walk on safety for a change. In fact he was a three or four star depending on the recruiting site. We will learn more about him this August and maybe find out what his true position is going to be.