Iowa Football

Iowa football depth chart: True freshman Yahya Black enters 2-deeps at defensive end

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz arrives with the football team for their game against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium in Io
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz arrives with the football team for their game against Northwestern at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

Here are some tidbits about Yahya Black.

He is from Marshall, Minn., in the southwest part of the state. Marshall is where the Schwan Food Company is located.

You pronounce his first name “Why-yay.” Offensive line coach Tim Polasek was the guy who successfully recruited him to Iowa, which Black picked over Buffalo, Kansas State, Minnesota, North Dakota State and South Dakota.

He’s the first true freshman to hit the two-deeps on the defensive side of the football. Black is listed as the backup to Zach VanValkenburg at right end for Iowa, which hosts Nebraska on Friday at Kinnick Stadium.

The 6-foot-5, 279-pounder has played in the last two games for the Hawkeyes (3-2), picking up one solo tackle and two assisted tackles. He has one-half tackle for loss.

The other true freshman on the depth chart is Tyler Elsbury, an Illinois native listed behind Cole Banwart at right guard.

Other news on the two-deeps is the presence, or re-presence, of Kyler Schott and Coy Cronk. Schott is listed behind Cody Ince at left guard, Cronk with Nick DeJong behind starter Mark Kallenberger at right tackle.

Schott and Cronk were starters who missed the last three games because of mononucleosis and an ankle injury, respectively. Kallenberger was nicked up some in the Penn State game last Saturday and replaced by redshirt sophomore Jack Plumb.

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Friday’s game kicks off at noon and will be televised by Fox. Nebraska (1-3) comes in off a 41-23 home loss to Illinois.

Cornhuskers Coach Scott Frost met with the media Monday but would not name a starting quarterback for Friday’s game. Adrian Martinez started the season behind center but was pulled in a loss Nov. 7 to Northwestern in favor of redshirt freshman Luke McCaffrey.

McCaffrey started the last two games, going 15-for-26 passing for 134 yards and three interceptions against Illinois. He also ran a whopping 26 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns.

“There’s no doubt in my mind Luke McCaffrey’s the future around here, but right now, to help us win, we’ve got to play the guy who gives us the best chance,” Frost said. “I think Adrian’s been playing with a little chip on his shoulder. Luke’s playing well, so we’re going to evaluate this week and see which one goes out there.”

Martinez has 23 career starts under his belt. This is the second consecutive week an Iowa opponent has a quarterback controversy, of sorts, as Penn State gave Will Levis the start last week over veteran Sean Clifford, though Clifford played much of the second half.

“Luke was in his second start. That’s tough,” Frost said. “You know, Adrian has all the talent in the world and has the capability of doing it. We have to do a better job as coaches to make sure those guys max out their potential.”

Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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