One of the biggest items for Kirk Ferentz & Co. on Iowa's off-season to-do list is to replace All-American right tackle Tristan Wirfs. Iowa has some internal options to try and fill that role, such as Mark Kallenberger and Jack Plumb. Now it looks like they have a splashy external option as well. As first reported by 247Sports' David Eickholt, Indiana LT Coy Cronk is now an Iowa student.
As of this morning, Indiana grad transfer OT Coy Cronk is listed in Iowa's student directory. Would provide immediate help following Tristan Wirfs' departure to the NFL. Cronk started 40 games for the Hoosiers. https://t.co/PIccRgbeKQ— David Eickholt (@DavidEickholt) January 22, 2020
Cronk is a big get for Iowa in more ways than one. On a literal level, he is very big: 6'5", 325 lbs. That's quite a bookend for your offensive line. But he's also a noteworthy addition to Iowa's offensive line because he's very experienced -- and pretty damn good, to boot. Cronk has started 40 games for Indiana, beginning as a true freshman in 2016, when he earned freshman All-America honors. Cronk also started 12 games in 2017 and 11 games in 2018. He started four games in 2019 before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. Because he stayed under the four game threshold, though, he was eligible to use a redshirt and preserve his final year of eligibility -- which he intends to use at Iowa.
And the final reason this is a big get for Iowa: come on, his name is COY CRONK. That is just a wonderful name right there. We're already excited to yell CRONK SMASH next fall when he pancakes some hapless defender.
Cronk played exclusively at left tackle at Indiana, but with Alaric Jackson entrenched in that position for Iowa, Cronk will need to adapt to a move to right tackle. He'll also need to finish healing up from that aforementioned ankle injury, which may limit him during Iowa's offseason workouts and spring practice. That said, the upside of this move seems huge -- for both sides. Iowa gets to fill one of their biggest areas of need with a tremendously experienced player. Cronk gets to go to Iowa Offensive Line Finishing School, where being a starting tackle has been a rock solid path to the NFL for basically two decades now. That seems like a win-win move.
On paper, Iowa will now enter 2020 with 30+ games of experience at both tackle positions and a hugely talented center entering his second year as a starter. There are still question marks at the guard positions, but Iowa should have a lot of promising options to try at those positions, between Mark Kallenberger (who excelled at left guard in the Holiday Bowl), Kyler Schott (Iowa's latest walk-on success story), a healthy Cole Banwart (the starter last season until he suffered his own season-ending injury), and Justin Britt (a very promising freshman). Establishing a settled, productive offensive line next fall would provide a great base for Iowa's new QB (likely Spencer Petras) and the exciting collection of returning skill player talent (Tyler Goodson, Ihmir Smith-Marsette, Brandon Smith, Mekhi Sargent, Tyrone Tracy, Sam LaPorta, etc.).
Let's get Cronk, y'all.