Iowa offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz has been vocal about his thoughts on depth charts, but he made sure that everybody knew who TE1 is at media day.

“Quite frankly, if I looked at our offense right now, in my opinion the only incumbent is Sam LaPorta,” Iowa’s playcaller said.

As the senior gears up for his final season in black and gold, he has his sights set on entering the NFL Draft and joining the plethora of tight ends to leave the program. LaPorta said he has relationships with some of the Hawkeye alumni like T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant and George Kittle.

“I’m in touch with those guys sort of infrequently, but they’re always checking up on me, making sure I have the resources that I need to be successful here,” said Iowa’s leading receiver in 2021. “It’s awesome when they come by and, you know, I get to pick their brain a little bit about playing tight end here and what their path was like.”

LaPorta will look to polish his blocking in the run game this season, but he’ll undoubtedly be a main target in the passing game. With uncertainty at the wide receiver position the 6-foot-4, 250-pound LaPorta could easily top his previous season, where he notched 53 receptions and 670 receiving yards. His relationship with quarterback Spencer Petras could be the key to unlocking an even bigger campaign.

“I think our friendship is progressing, of course, and on the field as well and we’ve been working since January,” said LaPorta. “Soon as the season ended, basically we were back on the field running routes and we got right back into it.”

Sam LaPorta #84 of the Iowa Hawkeyes catches the ball as Brennan Thieneman #38 of the Purdue Boilermakers defends at Ross-Ade Stadium on October 24, 2020 in West Lafayette, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

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