POSITIONAL AWARENESS 2019: DEFENSIVE TACKLE

By Mike Jones on August 23, 2019 at 8:03 am
DEFENSIVE LINE SMASH
© Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports
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Positional Awareness is our annual rundown of the Iowa depth chart, from the position where we are most confident in what Kirk Ferentz intends to do to, well, tight end.

Previously on Positional Awareness:

  1. Quarterback
  2. Running Back
  3. Linebacker
  4. Wide Receiver
  5. Cornerback
  6. Defensive End
Eligibility Remaining      
No. Player Year Ht/Wt. Position 2019 2020 2022 2023 2024
95 Cedrick Lattimore SR 6-3/295 Left Tackle #1          
91 Brady Reiff SR 6-3/277 Right Tackle #1          
66 Dalles Jacobus JR 6-0/285 Defensive Tackle          
74 Austin Schulte JR 6-4/287 Left Tackle #2          
54 Daviyon Nixon SO 6-3/309 Left Tackle #2          
99 Noah Shannon FR(RS) 6-0/294 Right Tackle #2          
50 Louie Stec FR 6-0/246 Defensive Tackle          
53 Spencer Daufeldt FR 6-1/285 Defensive Tackle          

 

LAST CHANCE U

LT #1: CEDRICK LATTIMORE (#90, Senior, 6'3", 295 lbs., East English Village, Redford, MI)

Maybe this is the year?

In retrospect, expecting Lattimore to be the next Carl Davis following his true freshman season was an unreasonable expectation. As a sophomore, he won the starting job. As a sophomore, he lost the starting job to Matt Nelson. As a junior, he spent the entire season backing up Sam Brincks and despite not starting a single game, he somehow had the best statistical year of his career: 21 tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss. 

When he committed to the Hawkeyes, he did so as a 3-star, 250 pound defensive end with offers from Michigan State and Minnesota. He changed positions, put on weight and had his opportunity. That opportunity didn’t pan out and now he waited one, and a half years to get another shot at making a difference on the defensive line. This is it for Cedrick. There is no next year.

STAY HUMBLE, STAY HUNGRY

RT #1: BRADY REIFF (#91, Senior, 6'3", 277 lbs., Parkston, Parkston, SD)

Looking at Brady Reiff’s stats from last season (12 tackles, one sack, and one tackle for loss), you’ll note that they’re as equally dull as Lattimore’s. That’s because they shared a similar rotation behind Brincks and Matt Nelson. Riley Reiff’s brother (contract fulfilled) redshirted after walking on in 2015 and has played in 32 games since then. He fell victim to the dreaded Iowa City Summer but rebounded nicely, managing to stay out of the Ferentz Dog House and saw plenty of action last year. One time, he picked off Josh Allen:

Lol Josh Allen.

Anyway, Morehouse quoted Kelvin Bell as saying that the line belongs to Reiff and Lattimore at this point:

“Ced and Brady complement each other so much,” D-line coach Kelvin Bell said. “They don’t have as many starts between them as you think they would, but they’ve seen a lot of football. This is Brady’s fifth year, Ced’s fourth. That’s a lot of practices, a lot of scouting reports...They’re going to be vital for us. Any good defense starts up the middle and it starts with those two guys.”

WHILE YOU WAIT FOR THE OTHERS

LT #2: DAVIYON NIXON (#54, Sophomore, 6'3", 309 lbs., Indian Trail, Kenosha, WI)

I’m not sure so much ink has been spilled over a player that has never played a down for the Hawkeyes. Let’s recap. Nixon committed to Iowa, Alabama tampered with him, he couldn’t qualify academically, he went to Iowa Western Community College in 2017, took an academic redshirt in 2018, entered the transfer portal in 2019 (but stayed), and that’s the short version.

We’ve heard everything about Nixon. He’s the next big thing on Iowa’s defensive line. He looks like Jaleel Johnson. He’s William Perry. He’s unstoppable. Mean Joe Greene is his dad. He eats babies and destroys worlds. I mean, there isn’t a lot that hasn’t been said about him. What’s interesting is that he really tested the Kirk Ferentz Loyalty Pledge brought to you by Learfield Sports when he entered the transfer portal. Typically, when someone gives their commitment to Iowa and then goes searching for other suitors, they suddenly find a padlock on the door outside Kinnick Stadium with a giant sign that says PERSONA NON GRATA.

Of course, commitment in this instance is actually being a member of the football team as opposed to being a recruit. We hadn’t seen what Ferentz would do in this situation, as the transfer portal is a new tool this season. Ultimately, Nixon decided against transferring and Ferentz apparently held no ill will towards him, as he’s now the reserve defensive tackle.

And that "reserve" role could be temporary, as he’s getting talked up by Phil Parker, who said “He’s kind of jumped up a little bit, got in shape and he’s doing a real good job inside…It’s really exciting to have more guys with that energy you need. It brings juice to the defense.’’

If you’re looking for a buzz word from Iowa staff it’s “effort.” When a coach is praising your effort you’re doing something right. Reiff and Lattimore have put in their time and will have first dibs when it comes to starting in 2019. Should they falter, Big Truck will be waiting.

LT #2: AUSTIN SCHULTE (#74, Junior, 6'4", 287 lbs., Pella, Pella, IA)

RT #2: NOAH SHANNON (#99, Redshirt Freshman, 6'0", 294 lbs., Oswego, Montgomery, IL)

DALLES JACOBUS (#66, Junior, 6'0", 285 lbs., CR Kennedy, Palo, IA)

Schulte was a 3-star linebacker/defensive end that had his pick of FCS schools before committing to the Hawkeyes. He redshirted in 2016, didn’t play in 2017, didn’t play in 2018, and we’re not super-optimistic about 2019. Sure, he’s listed as co-backup on the line right now, but so was Garret Jansen and look at him now. He’s going to Mankato and getting his Master’s degree in Speech Pathology.

Noah Shannon is pretty much the same player he was last season because he redshirted and didn’t see any game action. He originally committed to P.J. Fleck at Minnesota and had offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue, a number of FCS programs, and Iowa State. He was considered talented out of high school, he’s still considered talented as a redshirt freshman and now he’s a reserve on the defensive line.

Again, Lattimore and Reiff have a firm hold on the starting positions, as they’re the only seniors on the depth chart. However, if there’s trouble, guys like Nixon and Shannon could be up. 

Jacobus was listed as the backup heading into 2018, suffered a season-ending injury and is now known as the guy who wrote a song about The Wave

They Were Only Freshmen

LOUIE STEC (#50, Freshman, 6'0", 246 lbs., Nazareth, LaGrange Park, IL)

SPENCER DAUFELDT (#53, Freshman, 6'1", 285 lbs., West Liberty, West Liberty, IA)

Stec had interest from a number of Division II schools like Sioux Falls, Bemidji State (that’s not real is it?) and University of Mary (that’s way too generic to be a real school) but decided to walk on this year. Same for Daufeldt, who had a scholarship offer from Minnesota State (suck it, Screaming Eagles) but decided to walk on. With Stec’s size and so many guys in the mix, redshirts are gonna happen for sure.

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