Every year, there are a few freshmen that emerge to make an impact on the Iowa football program. Here is a rundown of the freshmen impact in 2019.
Let me first start off by saying that if you are looking to read about Tyler Goodson’s impact on the Iowa football team, we won’t be covering that much because to be quite frank, it’s pretty obvious he’s been incredible this season and makes me very excited about the future of the position for the Hawks.
Instead, let’s focus on the rest of the class and what are the biggest surprises. Who is playing that we didn’t exactly see coming and who is not playing that we would have expected prior to the season?
Way before the season began, I thought we were going to see Tyler Goodson, Tyler Endres, and Jestin Jacobs get early playing time. I had heard some really good things on Goodson prior to the Iowa football team even stepping on the field against Miami of Ohio and Endres and Jacobs were both high-profile recruits at positions of need.
Well, I clearly missed the ball on the last two.
Over the course of eight games, we’ve seen several freshmen on the field, a few have already burnt through their redshirt status, and a few more look like they could in the final portion of the season. Fortunately for me, the guys over at 247Sports keep a nice tally too.
Let’s start with the guys who have burnt their redshirt already: Goodson, Sam LaPorta, and Jack Campbell.
Without a doubt, the biggest surprise here is Campbell, a three-star recruit from Cedar Falls who has performed admirably since joining the Hawks and earning enough trust to see meaningful minutes in the last few games with starting middle linebacker Kristian Welch out.
Right behind him though is Sam LaPorta, or I should say, it was a surprise that he burnt his redshirt until his “breakout” performance against Northwestern where he showed athleticism and playmaking abilities that we haven’t seen from the tight end group this year. I am over here now banging the table for more playing time from LaPorta.
We’ve covered Goodson. The dude can ball.
Only one guy appears to be ready to join the three above with a burnt redshirt after Justin Britt’s injury and that’s Cash Dane Belton.
After camp, there was quite a bit of hype surrounding Belton and the potential for him to get some key minutes for the Iowa football program, but his season started our pretty slow especially when you consider the lack of depth the Hawks had in the secondary due to injuries.
Now though with the secondary finally healthy, we are seeing the re-emergence of the 4-2-5 and Belton has been a key component of that. With two spread attacks coming up on the schedule (Nebraska and Minnesota) expect to see Belton burn right through the redshirt.
The big thing I wanted to cover with this are the guys I am surprised to not have seen play starting with four-star tackles Tyler Endres and Ezra Miller. Typically, we have seen the Iowa football team rotate younger guys in on the offensive line throughout the game to get them acclimated and ready for future seasons, and while we have seen that this year, it hasn’t been with the two prized recruits.
Instead, we’ve seen Justin Britt (who has played well might I add) in that position and a few of the older guys maintain their clear advantage on the depth chart.
I know putting tackles in at guard and vice versa is not exactly as clear cut as it is in Madden, but I would have figured given the struggles of the interior offensive line that we could have seen them make at least an appearance or two as the Hawks try to rectify a bad situation.
The other guy I am surprised we haven’t seen in Jestin Jacobs, the four-star linebacker who the Hawks snagged from Ohio State, who began heavily recruiting him late in the process. I thought his talent would get him on the field in some capacity, and it does sound like the Hawks intend to get him on special teams over the coming weeks, but this just feels like a situation where Iowa just has a lot of older depth and not a ton of injuries at the outside linebacker spots with Nick Niemann and Djimon Colbert holding down the fort.
Outside of that, there aren’t many big surprises in terms of lack of playing time. I thought we would see Josiah Miamen or Sebastion Castro in, but other than that the redshirt plan seems to be about what I expected.