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IOWA CITY — To say Iowa football is all-in on the transfer portal would be an overstatement.
“For us to be sustainable — at least we believe to be sustainable — you still have got to be able to recruit high school kids and develop these guys,” Iowa recruiting director Tyler Barnes said.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said the goal is for the “core of our team” to be players the staff recruited traditionally rather than lured from the portal.
But with the first transfer portal window closing in less than a week, it is abundantly clear Iowa is taking a more aggressive approach in the portal than in recent years.
Here’s a breakdown of what Iowa has gained, what Iowa has lost and where it currently stands:
What Iowa has gained
Iowa has brought in five scholarship players, including two who have made significant contributions on a Michigan team that went to the College Football Playoff.
Cade McNamara was a third-team all-Big Ten quarterback in 2021, and Erick All Jr. was an all-Big Ten honorable mention in 2021.
Wide receiver Seth Anderson, who was a major factor on Charleston Southern’s offense in 2022, will look to make the jump from the FCS to the Big Ten in 2023.
Offensive lineman Daijon Parker committed from Division II Saginaw Valley State, and quarterback Deacon Hill committed to Iowa after not throwing a pass in two seasons with Wisconsin.
While technically not from the portal, Iowa also added defensive lineman Anterio Thompson and edge rusher Jackson Filer from Iowa Western Community College. Filer, the NJCAA Division I Defensive Player of the Year, is a preferred walk-on.
Tight end Hayden Large joined Iowa as a preferred walk-on from Dordt University, an NAIA school in Sioux Center.
What Iowa has lost
Iowa’s transfer portal departures outnumber its transfer portal arrivals.
Ten scholarship players have departed via the portal, including six who have started games for the Hawkeyes.
Linebacker Jestin Jacobs, who was on the preseason watch list for the Butkus Award, is likely the most significant departure.
Defensive backs Terry Roberts, Reggie Bracy and Dallas Craddieth also departed via the portal.
Wide receivers Keagan Johnson and Arland Bruce IV, quarterbacks Alex Padilla and Carson May, running back Gavin Williams and offensive lineman Josh Volk left from the offense.
Where Iowa stands now
While Iowa bolstered some of its position groups via the transfer portal — quarterback and tight end jump to the top of the list — it has subtracted more experience than it added.
The Hawkeyes lost players with a combined 4,119 snaps at the Division I level to the portal, according to a Gazette analysis of Pro Football Focus data, but only gained players with 2,805 Division I snaps.
When only including snaps at the FBS level, Iowa added players with about half as many career snaps as it lost.
The two biggest positional needs going into the offseason — offensive line and wide receiver — remain positional needs as the end of the first portal window nears.
Linebacker is increasingly a question mark after losing Jacobs, although internal options may help fill that void.
While the Hawkeyes have not solved all of their roster shortcomings, they have undoubtedly fared better in the portal than in 2021-22.
Iowa added one player and lost six scholarship players via the portal last year.
The one addition in 2021-22, tight end Steven Stilianos, did not have any targets in his first season as a Hawkeye.
The most significant departure, wide receiver Charlie Jones, had 110 receptions for 1,361 yards and 12 touchdowns with Big Ten West champion Purdue.
What’s next in transfer portal
The first transfer portal window will close on Jan. 18.
That only puts a close on players entering the portal, though. Anyone who already is in the portal does not have to commit to a school in the window.
Therefore, Iowa can continue to look for wide receivers, offensive linemen or players at other positions that still need a new home.
The second transfer portal window will begin May 1 and last 15 days.