Big Ten Media Day started Thursday, which means the 2021 football season is right around the corner. With that, we get Iowa Football’s first depth chart for the upcoming season.
Quarterback: Spencer Petras is listed as QB1. The junior started all eight games for the Hawkeyes last year. He finished the season with 1,569 yards passing (third in the Big Ten), nine touchdowns (fourth in the Big Ten), five interceptions and a 57.1 percent completion parentage. Alex Padilla is listed as the backup.
Running back: Tyler Goodson looks to once again lead Iowa’s running game. He finished last season second in the Big Ten in rushing yards with 762. Expectations are even higher this year as he’s received plenty of preseason recognition. Ivory Kelly-Martin is listed as the backup.
Wide Receiver: Tyrone Tracy Jr. and Nico Ragaini sit atop the depth chart at the receiver position. The Hawkeyes lost their two top wide receivers from last season in terms of yardage with Ihmir Smith-Marsette and Brandon Smith both leaving for the NFL. Tracy Jr. caught 14 passes for 154 yards and one touchdown in 2020. Ragaini was fourth on the team in yards with 189. Freshman Keagan Johnson and senior Charlie Jones are backups right now.
Tight End: Sam Laporta returns as the starter after starting five games last season. He had 260 yards last season, which was first on the team. The junior spent extra time with Petras this offseason and is looking forward to a big season. Redshirt freshman Luke Lachey will back him up.
Offensive Line: From left to the right the line figures to go: Jack Plumb, Cody Ince, Tyler Linderbaum, Kyler Schott, Nick DeJong. Linderbaum has the most experience with 21 starts coming into this season. He’s also gotten plenty of preseason hype. The line also returns Ince, who started six games last season. Plumb and Schott saw some action last year with two starts each.
Defensive Line: John Waggoner is listed as the starting left end, Noah Shannon and Yahya Black are the tackles and Zach VanValkenburg will start on the right side. Zach VanValkenburg is the only one with substantial experience, starting all eight games in 2020. He was second-team All-Big Ten. Shannon is the only other player with starting experience, though it was just one game.
Linebackers: Dane Belton, Seth Benson and Jack Campbell are the three linebackers. All three saw the field last year. Belton split some time between safety and linebacker in 2020. Benson started the final seven games of the season at middle linebacker after missing the opener. Campbell played in five games, recording 29 tackles, one sack and one interception.
Defensive backs: Seniors Matt Hankins and Riley Moss are listed as the starting corners. Junior Kaevon Merriweather is the starting strong safety and senior Jack Koerner is the free safety. This is one of the most experience groups on the roster with all four players having starting experience. Hankins leads the way with 27 starts. Both Koerner and Moss have 15+ starts coming into this season.
Special teams: Caleb Shudak is the kicker. He handled kickoffs last season and missed the only field goal he took, a 52 yarder. Tory Taylor will punt. The Austrailian punted in all eight games last year and ranked 20th in the country in punting average at 44.1 yards. Austin Spiewak is the long snapper.