Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, January 22, 2015
Iowa is coming off a 7-6 season that left many fans wanting for more. In fact, the Hawkeyes have lost at least five games in each of the last five seasons. But Kirk Ferentz soldiers on into his 17th season.
Ferentz and Iowa will welcome back some top talent in 2015, including center Austin Blythe, defensive end Drew Ott, cornerback Desmond King, receiver Tevaun Smith, safety Jordan Lomax and tight end Jake Duzey. All of the aforementioned players earned some type of postseason all-conference honor from the Big Ten.
But some key players are gone, including strong safety John Lowdermilk and right offensive tackle Andrew Donnal. But they don?t rate among my top Hawkeyes gone from 2014.
Here are the Top Five Iowa players who are gone and must be replaced.
LB Quinton Alston. A second-team All-Big Ten choice by the coaches, Alston finished second on the team in tackles with 94. He also had 6.0 TFLs and 3.5 sacks to go along with five passes broken up and five defended. Alston did a bit of everything as a key cog on a defense that ranked No. 6 in the Big Ten.
DT Carl Davis. He was a Coke machine in the middle of the line, often creating congestion and stuffing the run. Davis notched 36 tackles with 9.0 TFLs. He was a presence that couldn?t be ignored en route to earning consensus second-team All-Big Ten honors.
OT Brandon Scherff. He leaves Iowa City as an all-time great, becoming the fourth Hawkeye to win the Outland Trophy. The All-American was an indomitable force at the key left tackle spot and is projected by most to be a top-10 NFL draft selection.
DT Louis Trinca-Pasat. He epitomized the term ?lunch bucket player? with a relentless effort that compensated for a lack of top-end talent. Regardless, Trinca-Pasat was a playmaker who paced Iowa d-linemen in tackles with 69 and tallied 11.5 TFLs and 6.5 sacks. He even broke up three passes and defended three en route to earning second-team All-Big Ten accolades from the coaches.
RB Mark Weisman. He left it all on the field every Saturday, pacing Iowa in rushing last year with 812 yards on 213 carries to go with 16 TDs. Weisman also paced the team in rushing in 2013 (974 yards) and in 2012 (815).
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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