Top 45: The 2013 Iowa Hawkeyes

From the best to the unknowns to the potential breakthroughs

Members of the University of Iowa Football team line up for a team photo following the team's annual media day Friday, A
Members of the University of Iowa Football team line up for a team photo following the team's annual media day Friday, Aug. 5, 2011 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. With the new scoreboard in the north end zone, this photo will now be impossible to take. (Brian Ray/ SourceMedia Group News)

Time to get granular with Iowa football.

This will be the football nerd's look into the top 45 players on Iowa's roster. Who are these guys? What have they done? What has the last year been like for them on the field? What have they done? Where do they fit?

The Top 45 isn't necessarily a list of the 45 best players on the team's roster. The primary factors are the player's talent, the inherent importance of the position he plays, the team's depth at the position and how badly Iowa needs the player to come through.

It might help to think of it as a list of the 45 players the Hawkeyes can least afford to lose if they want to return to the upper-tier of the Big Ten and the postseason.

The list was formulated through spring observations and conversations with coaches and players. Players' resumes also factored. Urgency also was a theme. The football biological clock is ticking for some of these players (third-year sophomores probably starting getting itchy about playing time).

As was the case last year, this isn’t about setting limits on a player. I assume someone will rise up and tear this list to pieces. Case in point is Mark Weisman. Check the Top 45 from last summer and you won't find IOWA'S LEADING RUSHER. And, we are talking Iowa RB, so maybe this year's leading rusher isn't on the list, either (Weisman is, I assure you).

This is a conversation piece. I hope you let me know where you believe a player should be on this list. It's conversational and unscientific.

This also is an introduction. It will cover the next starting QB (all three are on the list) to the No. 3 cornerback, the No. 3 offensive tackle and the long snapper (it's senior Casey Kreiter, by the way).

For Iowa to erase the 4-8 2012 that you're probably extremely tired of hearing about, the top 20 (or thereabouts) on this list have to be Iowa's best players. If Iowa’s defense is going to contain the excellent zone-read QBs on the schedule, the defense ends will have to be nimble and can't afford to stay blocked. What is Iowa's offense going to be? There's Weisman, there's a potentially solid O-line and then there are questions.

This spring, head coach Kirk Ferentz and offensive coordinator Greg Davis talked about the lack of explosive plays. Where are those going to come from?For the first week, there will be two posts a day. I had a two-week vacation at the beginning of the month that threw me off. First posts will start showing tonight.