The temperatures are warming, the snow is melting, and what's that tantalizing aroma? Yes, it's a hot and fresh new depth chart, straight out of the
oven Iowa football office. There's a lot to take note of, so let's get into it.
|POS||FIRST STRING||SECOND STRING||POS||FIRST STRING||SECOND STRING|
|QB||NATHAN STANLEY (Sr)||PEYTON MANSELL (SO)||DE||CHAUNCEY GOLSTON (Jr)||JOHN WAGGONER (RS Fr)|
|RB||MEKHI SARGENT (Jr)||TOREN YOUNG (Jr)||DT||CEDRICK LATTIMORE (Sr)||AUSTIN SCHULTE (Jr)|
|FB||BRADY ROSS (Sr)||JOE LUDWIG (So)||DT||BRADY REIFF (Sr)||NOAH SHANNON (RS Fr)|
|WR||BRANDON SMITH (Jr)||TYRONE TRACY JR (RS Fr)||DE||A.J. EPENESA (Jr)||NATHAN NELSON (RS Fr)|
|WR||IHMIR SMITH-MARSETTE (Jr)||NICO RAGAINI (RS Fr)||OLB||NICK NIEMANN (Jr)||BARRINGTON WADE (Jr)|
|TE||NATE WIETING (Sr)||TOMMY KUJAWA (So)||MLB||KRISTIAN WELCH (Sr)||DILLON DOYLE (RS Fr)|
|TE||SHAUN BEYER (Jr)||DREW COOK (Sr)||WLB||DJIMON COLBERT (So)||AMANI JONES (Sr)|
|LT||ALARIC JACKSON (Jr)||MARK KALLENBERGER (So)||CB||MATT HANKINS (Jr)||JULIUS BRENTS (So)|
|LG||LANDAN PAULSEN (Sr)||CODY INCE (RS Fr)||SS||KAEVON MERRIWEATHER (So)||JOHN MILANI (Sr)|
|C||COLE BANWART (Jr||TYLER LINDERBAUM (RS Fr)||FS||GENO STONE (Jr)||Jack Koerner (So)|
|RG||LEVI PAULSEN (Sr)||KYLER SCHOTT (So)||CB||MICHAEL OJEMUDIA (Sr)||RILEY MOSS (So)|
|RT||TRISTAN WIRFS (Jr)||JACK PLUMB (RS Fr)||LS||JACKSON SUBBERT (Sr)||NATE VEJVODA (Sr)|
|K||CALEB SHUDAK (Jr)||KEITH DUNCAN (Jr)||P||COLTEN RASTETTER (Sr)||RYAN GERSONDE (So)|
|KR||IHMIR SMITH-MARSETTE (Jr)||--||PR||IHMIR SMITH-MARSETTE (Jr)||--|
The first depth chart of a new season is always going to feature a lot of change, but this depth chart seems particularly full of new faces, as well as some old faces in new places. Exciting! Obviously there's still a long, long way to go until Iowa plays a game (8/31 against Miami (OH)) and much could (and likely will) change between now and then, but this gives us a snapshot on how things are looking at the moment. A few thoughts:
The offensive backfield is mostly unchanged, with the only alteration being the removal of Ivory Kelly-Martin from his depth chart; previously he and Toren Young were listed as co-backups to Mekhi Sargent. I'd expect the RB situation to remain fluid, though, likely into next season. Your QB1 is Nate Stanley and your QB2 (aka, everyone's favorite player) is Peyton Mansell. No surprises there.
A healthy Brady Ross figures to be Iowa's primary fullback this season, but Joe Ludwig has replaced Austin Kelly (now graduated) as the other fullback likely to see snaps this year.
The departures of Nick Easley and Kyle Groeneweg have shaken up Iowa's wide receiver depth chart, with Brandon Smith and Ihmir Smith-Marsette now listed as starters (Smith already was, Smith-Marsette replaces Easley on the top line of the depth chart), with Tyrone Tracy Jr. and Nico Ragaini, respectively, listed behind them. There's going to be a lot of pressure on the wide receivers to perform this season and this is out first glimpse of the new pecking order.
To my surprise, this depth chart goes back to the 2-TE listing that was used for most of last season. That was ditched for the bowl game, though, and with both T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant gone, I wondered if the offense might dial back the 2-TE looks. Apparently not. At the moment, your TE starters are Nate Wieting and Shaun Beyer, with Tommy Kujawa and Drew Cook as their listed backups. Barring injuries, I'd expect the TE starters to look like that on opening day, although I am curious to see if the incoming freshmen can push their way into consideration as well.
On the offensive line, your bookends (Alaric Jackson at LT and Tristan Wirfs) are the same, although there's a new RT2, with Jack Plumb replacing the graduated Dalton Ferguson as Wirfs' main backup. Kallenberger, a sophomore and Plumb, a redshirt freshman, are clearly your tackle combo of the future (which could come as soon as the 2020 season, if Jackson and Wirfs have good years and opt to go pro after next fall).
The interior of the offensive line is full of new faces, though -- or, rather, old faces in new places. With the departures of Keegan Render (C) and Ross Reynolds (LG), Iowa has moved the only remaining starter from the interior (Cole Banwart) over to center. (He was previously at right guard.) That might be a temporary move, though, because the Iowa staff seems very high on Tyler Linderbaum, moved to the OL from the DL during bowl prep, and he's clearly being groomed to take over at center. It's probably just a matter of when he's ready to do so. In the meantime, though, we have a DOUBLE PAULSEN SIGHTING. Both of the Paulsen twins are currently listed as starters, with Landan at left guard and Levi at right guard. As enjoyable as it would be to have a little TWIN MAGIC~! on Iowa's offensive line, if Linderbaum takes over the starting center spot by the start of the season, I expect Banwart to move back to right guard, which could leave the Paulsens battling each other for the remaining starting spot.
The defensive line, as expected, has a complete makeover at the starting spots, thanks to the graduations of Matt Nelson, Parker Hesse, and Sam Brincks and Anthony Nelson's decision to leave early for the NFL Draft. That means that, yes, the day has finally come: A.J. Epenesa is a starter at defensive end. And there was much rejoicing. Chauncey Golston is the starter at the other defensive end spot, as expected. John Waggoner makes his depth chart debut as the backup behind Golston and Nathan Nelson, a walk-on and the younger brother of Anthony Nelson, is currently listed as Epenesa's backup.
In the interior of the defensive line, your starters are defensive tackle are Cedrick Lattimore and Brady Reiff, moving up from DT2 status last year to starter status this year. Their backups are Austin Schulte (who's had a cup of coffee on the depth chart before, if memory serves) and Noah Shannon, a redshirt freshman.
Two of the three starters remain the same at linebacker: Nick Niemann at OLB and Djimon Colbert at WLB. The "new" starter is Kristian Welch at MLB (replacing Jack Hockaday), though he's not all that "new," as he started six games last year (three at MLB, three at WLB). Barrington Wade remains Niemann's backup, while Amani Jones returns to the depth chart as an option at WLB (which could be a good fit for him), and Dillon Doyle makes his depth chart debut as Welch's backup at MLB. I predict we'll see a lot of Doyle on the MLB depth chart over the next four years.
Cornerback is unchanged from the end of last season on this depth chart; Matt Hankins and Michael Ojemudia are your starters, with Julius Brents and Riley Moss as their backups. Though he's not listed here, one name to watch this spring and summer will be D.J. Johnson, who's garnered quite a bit of praise from the Iowa staff and seems like he could be a factor in the defensive backfield somehow.
The departures of Jake Gervase (graduation) and Amani Hooker (NFL Draft early entrant) mean new starters at safety. Geno Stone replaces Gervase at free safety and Kaevon Merriweather is your new starter at strong safety. Their backups are John Milani and Jack Koerner, respectively.
- On special teams, your punter depth chart is still Rastetter 1, Gersonde 2, but that's almost certainly because Arizona State grad transfer Michael Sleep-Dalton isn't on campus yet (he won't get here until summer). We'll have to wait until fall to see change on the punter depth chart. Miguel Recinos' graduation means a new starter at kicker, which is Caleb Shudak, who was Recinos' main backup last year. Harbaugh-slayer Keith Duncan is back on the depth chart as Shudak's backup, though. And, finally, Smith-Marsette is the only option listed at kick returner and punt returner. Those jobs will likely wait until fall to get sorted out.