CEDAR RAPIDS - Soccer took Drew Russell halfway around the world and back.
The Mount Vernon native chose an unorthodox professional soccer path by leaving home a decade ago at age 16 and pursuing his athletic dreams in Europe.
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IOWA CITY — Sophomore James Daniels is out at center for the Hawkeyes.
News surfaced Friday that Daniels suffered a knee injury in practice Wednesday. It was an injury that looked bad, but cooled off before Friday. Daniels missed spring practice after having a meniscus injury repaired. So, there’s a little background on his knee history.
— OK, Daniels has been ruled out and sophomore Lucas LeGrand is the starter. LeGrand is a 6-5, 290-pounder from Dubuque.
Here’s a little on his background from three years ago when he signed with the Hawkeyes:
From a post I did when LeGrand committed:
Miami, the one from Florida and not Ohio, came looking around at offensive lineman Lucas LeGrand. But he had already committed to Iowa and wasn’t budging.
“I was talking to Miami and some other smaller schools,” LeGrand said. “I told them that Iowa is where I want to go.”
That’s the big piece of news. Otherwise, LeGrand’s recruitment has been quiet. The fact that he committed to Iowa early last April probably shut down his recruitment. His only other offer was from Northern Colorado, but there was interest from Iowa State, Kansas State and Northwestern.
That doesn’t mean LeGrand has been sitting on the couch doing the X Box. He’s the shooting guard for Dubuque Senior, the No. 1 team in Iowa Class 4A basketball. In Dubuque, a No. 1-ranked basketball team is a huge deal.
“It is definitely improving in the weight room,” LeGrand told HawkeyeReport.com. “I’ve been working on foot speed and basketball helps a lot with that. I am getting my feet moving and improving my technique. I used to be the biggest guy on the field but now I need to work more on technique and strength.”
From former Iowa recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson: “We’ll start him out at tackle. That was one of the places where we had a shortcoming in this class. We’re going to have to look for some tackles and definitely sign some in the next class. I think he’ll probably end up starting out there, where he’ll end up? I think with some of the rotation with our O-line, nobody knows.”
On athleticism: “He’s a great athlete. I think he’s young from a football standpoint, not from age but developmental standpoint.”
Midwest recruiting coordinator Josh Helmholdt: “I’m interested in seeing how his career develops. He could come in and just end up being depth or he could get a fire lit under his rear-end and turn out to be one of those great Iowa offensive linemen that they produce on a regular basis. He has that ability, and I don’t think we’ve seen the best he has to offer. It’s tough to measure his ceiling. He could turn out to be a multi-year starter or he may end up being a depth guy.”
— Nothing official on DE Parker Hesse, but Kirk Ferentz made his status sound questionable at best this week.
— RB Akrum Wadley is out going through warmups. Rumor he has a bad knee. His right knee does have a white wrap on it. All I know. He looks to be moving OK.
Wadley is taking handoffs from managers and making cuts.
— Watch for ISU defense to go hard at a new center. I also think Nose guard Demond Tucker might be ISU’s best defensive player.
ISU plays a 3-4-5 defense, but expect a heavier look against the Hawkeyes, who’ll likely run a lot of fullback and maybe two TEs.
On Iowa’s No. 2 TE, junior walk-on Peter Pekar played the role last week. He only saw 15 plays, but was Iowa’s lowest-graded run blocker, according to Pro Football Focus grades.
— Iowa radio just said Hesse is a game-time decision.
— Iowa AD Gary Barta was just on the radio. Here’s a summation of his short interview: Iowa and ISU aren’t ending this series. BUT he watched LSU-Wisc and did ask, “Is there a year we take it off?” Hmmm.
Barta sounded intrigued. Before you go crazy, Iowa and Iowa State have a signed contract through 2021. So probably wouldn’t happen until then.
Still, this is the No. 1 topic for a lot of you. I always counter with Iowa State is Iowa’s premium non-conference game. You don’t seem to agree, or at least a certain percentage of you.
— DE Anthony Nelson in for Parker Hesse. Only other change. Wadley is out there and just ran a rep with the 1s.
— Second team DL: Sam Brincks and Brady Reiff at DEs. DTs are Faith Ekakitie and true freshman Cedric Lattimore.
— Second team OL from left to right: Ryan Ward, Ross Reynolds, Steve Ferentz, Keegan Render and Levi Paulsen.
That’s it for pregame. Enjoy!
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