Hitchens receives call of a lifetime from Dallas

Hawkeyes have 3 picks in first four rounds

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IOWA CITY — Iowa linebacker Anthony Hitchens received the call of a lifetime Saturday afternoon from Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The Cowboys selected Hitchens in the fourth round, and Jones informed Hitchens of the selection. After exchanging pleasantries, Jones said: “You’ve got a special teams coach over here that laid in front of the train for you. Whatever you do, you’re going to have to be the best special teams player we’ve got.”

Jones then passed the phone to Dallas Coach Jason Garrett.

“You’re our kind of guy,” Garrett said. “You ready to get to work? You’re a damn good player.”

Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli then jumped on the phone.

“We like you,” Marinelli said. “Bring some of that Iowa toughness in there. Everybody we’ve talked to just thinks the world of you, and we love your tape. We love what you’ve got a chance bring to our defense.”

Then linebackers coach Matt Eberflus got even more personal with Hitchens.

“You’ll be spending your life with me. You got it?” Eberflus said.

“I’m ready,” Hitchens replied.

“My good buddy is Phil Parker. We worked together for 10 years at the University of Toledo. So he stood on the table for you. I’m glad to have you because you like to run and you like to hit. We’re excited about getting you.”

Hitchens was overwhelmed throughout the call, which was recorded on Dallas’ website. He was Iowa’s third draft selection this weekend.

Hitchens, a second-team all-Big Ten linebacker last year, was joined tackle Brandon Scherff as Iowa’s Most Valuable Player last year. Hitchens recorded a team-high 112 tackles last year, including 13.5 for loss and two quarterback sacks. He also had two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception, and one pass breakup.

The scouting report on Dallas’ website, the scouting report on Hitchens reads: “He’s a compact looking player on tape. You can see that there is a lot of weight packed on his body. For his bulk, felt like there were some times where he was very physical at the point of attack and then others where he could have done a little bit better job with his shed. He’ll extend his hands. He does a nice job of finding the ball. Big fan of the way that he reacts. He’ll take on in the hole with his shoulder, then work to the ball.

“When he lowers his pads, you see a much better player. There were some snaps where he unloaded on the ball carrier. There is some pop with him. He does a nice job of handling the puller on the trap. He needs to get off the block a tick quick at times, but something he will get better at. Will close down in the hole. He’s able to flow to the ball. There were times where he over ran the ball and was very aggressive.”

Hitchens, who stands 6 foot and weighs 240 pounds, is the first Hawkeye drafted by the Cowboys in 30 years. Fullback Norm Granger and offensive lineman Joe Levelis were picked by Dallas in 1984.

l Comments: (319) 339-3169; scott.dochterman@sourcemedia.net

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