No. 41: FS John Lowdermilk
FREE SAFETY JOHN LOWDERMILK
Arrival: John Lowdermilk was a late, late recruit in the 2011 class. He also was the eight true freshman to burn a redshirt last fall when, after a horrific performance against Iowa State, the son of Kurt Lowdermilk (former Ohio State all-American O-lineman and Minnesota Viking) jumped in as the gunner against Pittsburgh.
Iowa State averaged 31.8 yards on five kick returns against the Hawkeyes. The field position given up in that game contributed to the Cyclones scoring TDs on two of their last three drives in regulation to force the overtime. Against Pitt, the Hawkeyes snapped back, holding the Panthers to 19.8 yards on five returns. Now, was this all Lowdermilk? No, it wasn't, but these are how careers are supposed to start for late, late recruits.
Last season, Lowdermilk contributed on special teams, making three tackles. This season, he's the No. 2 free safety. That's a decent move on the depth chart, but you'll likely see Lowdermilk's contributions coming on special teams again this season.
2012 Takeoff: It's not the kind of football glory that lands you on the cover of NCAA '13, but special teams captain or leader or banner carrier is a magnificently honorable role that should come with fanfare. Iowa has had these players. Bob Sanders was a wrecking ball that left shards of shoulder pads in his wake (OK, that's kind of corny, but he hit really, really hard). Jamie Murphy's monster hits set tones (and unfortunately took a terrible toll on his body). Zach Gabelman filled this role in the early '00s.
This said, Lowdermilk also is one Tanner Miller injury from being Iowa's No. 1 free safety, a position that demands a high-level football IQ, calling coverages for the secondary.But that's an "if," one Iowa doesn't want to visit because Miller is a talented, tested veteran. Iowa could use a banner carrier on special teams, and Lowdermilk could be just that.