Iowa football: Preseason depth chart analysis

iowa football

Yes, Jake Rudock is still the starter on the preseason depth chart. No, I don’t expect that to change.

Iowa football recently just released their preseason depth chart and while there aren’t too many surprises, it is worth taking a look at. A lot can change after August practices and probably more than one player will impress coaches enough to unseat someone ahead them. Here is the offense with my personal notes and observations.

[Iowa football: Ferentz is best player developer in NCAA]

Split end:

Tevaun Smith, Jr.; Derek Willies, RS Fr.

This is the same from the spring depth chart. Smith looks like he is poised for a break out year after a tremendous end to the season. Willies impressed the coaches so much this winter and spring that he is already the number two on the depth chart. He will get plenty of time as Iowa will look to rotate their wide receivers often this fall.

Left tackle:

Brandon Scherff Sr.; Ike Boettger RS Fr.

This is the first change from the spring depth chart as Ike Boettger gets the nod at number two over Boone Myers. He has good size and looks to possibly be the left tackle of the future.

Brandon Scherff is going to be a monster (again) this year. Head coach Kirk Ferentz said that he might graduate as the best player ever to play at Iowa. As Ferentz said in one of my favorite quotes ever by him, “How often is an offensive tackle an offensive MVP? I don’t know what that says. It says we’re in Iowa, I guess.”

Left guard:

Sean Welsh RS Fr.; Boone Myers RS Fr.

Boone Myers has been moved to guard after Boettger established himself as the back up at tackle. Here we notice the absence of Ryan Ward. He was originally here as second string, but it looks like he is being passed up again for another underclassman.

Welsh has been a real surprise as he is a starter as only a redshirt freshman. He will go through some trials as a freshman, but Ferentz thinks he is ready for Big Ten football. The coaches have talked about perhaps rotating at the left guard position which will help take off the load on Welsh and give some experience to the back-ups. That way next year they will have more experienced players, similar to what they did last year with Walsh and Donnal splitting time last year.


Austin Blythe Jr.; Tommy Gaul Sr., OR Eric Simmons, Jr.

Simmons moved from right guard to center in this updated depth chart after spending most of last season injured. Tommy Gaul has been a back-up his whole career and with a great starter of Austin Blythe in front of him, it looks like he has will end his career as a back-up. Blythe has a chance of being one of the top centers in the nation after a great sophomore year. Iowa is set at this position.

Right guard:

Jordan Walsh, Jr.; Mitch Keppy, So.

Mitch Keppy sees his name on the two deeps for the first time this season. Walsh will try and build on his impressive sophomore year. Not much to see here.

Right tackle:

Andrew Donnal, Sr.; Cole Croston, So. OR Ryan Ward, So.

Andrew Donnal gets his chance to start all on his own. In his previous starts he was only a part timer or replacing someone injured. Now the job is all his and he has enough experience and coaching to play well. Ryan Ward is now a right tackle after getting moved from guard. After being such a highly regarded recruit with so many offers, you would hope that he would be able to separate himself from others in his class. So far he hasn’t been able to and as he is tied with Cole Croston, a walk on. Hopefully after the August practices he will be able to improve and get back on his projected track.

Tight end:

Ray Hamilton, Sr.; Jake Duzey, Jr.; Henry Krieger Coble, Jr.; George Kittle, So.;

Hamilton finally gets to show what he can do as a full time starter. Electric back up Jake Duzey will be seeing plenty of playing time. Duzey will be a different type of back up for Iowa as most back-up tight ends are primarily blockers. Krieger Coble and Kittle will have to fight for playing time behind Duzey and Hamilton. Whichever one is the better blocker will most likely see the most time out of the two.

Wide receiver:

Kevonte Martin-Manley, Sr.; Matt VandeBerg, So.; Andre Harris, RS Fr.

Martin-Manley will lead the talented and young group of wide receivers yet again. VandeBerg will hopefully improve on an impressive true freshman season. Coaches have said that he catches everything thrown at him and he gets the nod at number two. Andre Harris is another freshman redshirt that impressed in practice. He should be a speedier option and might spend some time in the slot.

Wide receiver:

Jacob Hillyer, Jr.; Damond Powell, Sr.; Derrick Mitchell Jr., RS Fr.

Hillyer might be the most underappreciated starting wide receiver for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Martin-Manley and Tevaun Smith get plenty of praise for their production and athleticism, but Hillyer is often overlooked. He is going to be Iowa’s red zone target standing at a whopping 6-foot-4 inches. He runs good routes and has decent speed.

Ferentz announced that Powell has a hernia and will be out for the fall practice and possibly a couple of games. That will be a big blow for this Iowa offense as they will be missing the electric and game-breaking play that Powell brings. Mitchell is another player that will be fighting for playing time after redshirting last season. He is hungry to play the coaches say and hopefully he will see the field some this season.


Jake Rudock, Jr.; C.J. Beathard, So.;

Rudock being number one on the depth chart shouldn’t surprise anyone if they have been following what the coaches have said. Nic Shimonek, who was the third string quarterback, has decided to transfer. It isn’t a surprise as he was nowhere near unseating Beathard as the primary backup. Beathard could see some playing time in certain packages they have discussed but that could just be the coaches talking.

Running back:

Mark Weisman, Sr. OR Jordan Canzeri, Jr.; Damon Bullock, Sr.; LeShun Daniels, So.

This is exactly what the spring depth chart looked like. Weisman and Canzeri will most likely split the majority of the carries. Bullock will probably see the field a lot on third down with his receiving and blocking skills. Daniels is poised for a break out year after wowing a lot of people as a true freshman. Expect big things out of this position group; that is unless Angry Iowa Hating Running Back God decides to strike again.


Adam Cox, Jr.; Macon Plewa, Jr.

Cox returns as starter after playing quite a bit last year. He will be a major part of this rushing attack with his blocking. Plewa will be a great insurance if Cox gets injured.

  • ThaiHawk

    Good report! …what’s wrong with Iowa’s journalism program?

    • Austin Kreber

      Haha Iowa State’s was listed number 2 out of the country when I graduated high school in 2012, and I got a better scholarship offer from Iowa State than from Iowa. As a college student, you have to go with the money! haha