Iowa football: Linebacker Aaron Mends leaving the program as graduate transfer

Redshirt senior linebacker Aaron Mends announced that he would be departing the Iowa football program as a graduate transfer today.

It’s that time of year where college football teams everywhere suffer the loss of a few unexpected players. Today, the Hawkeyes took a blow as Aaron Mends, a redshirt senior from Kansas City Missouri, made the decision to leave the Iowa football program and pursue athletic and academic opportunities elsewhere.

It’s an unfortunate situation for Mends, who suffered a season-ending injury in spring practice this past year as he was getting ready to finally assume a starter role at the linebacker position after the Hawkeyes graduated all three starting linebackers. This came after the 6’0” 228 pound linebacker spent four years in the Iowa football program. His first season in Iowa City was spent redshirting before playing sparingly as a reserve over the last three seasons.

In his Hawkeye career, Mends saw action in 37 games and made 13 tackles along 1.5 sacks.

While there certainly would be an opportunity to start next season, there is quite a crowd at the linebacker position where the Hawkeyes were forced to dig deep into their depth as injuries and ineffective play plagued this group through the season. For a redshirt senior who is likely going to be granted a medical hardship waiver for 2018, this wasn’t the best fit anymore for him going forward.

Mends made the announcement this morning on his Twitter account.

While it’s certainly never fun to see players leave the program, it’s a way of life in college football. These young men ultimately need to do what is best for them, and for a guy like Mends who did everything the right way throughout his career, he needs to find a spot where he can get guaranteed playing time and potentially revive his NFL hopes.

We wish you the best luck of Aaron, and we will continue rooting for you!

To date, including Mend’s departure, the Hawkeyes have received word on three players leaving the Iowa football program. First, it was redshirt freshman Josh Turner who was stuck in a crowded cornerback room and then more recently it was All-Big Ten tight end Noah Fant who is heading to the NFL.