A few times during the 2019 season, Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz mentioned how much he enjoyed having NFL-sized offensive tackles.
His next line usually was something like “we don’t have that very often.”
It appears the Hawekeyes are shooting for that again in 2020.
News started to trickle out Tuesday that Indiana offensive tackle Coy Cronk wanted to spend his fifth year at Iowa. On Wednesday morning several of the recruiting outlets that cover Iowa noticed Cronk’s name in the UI student directory for spring semester 2020.
The Gazette has confirmed Cronk’s arrival. He will be competing with the team this spring as a graduate transfer.
Cronk could be one of those “right on time,” “exactly what they needed” scores from the “not really recruiting” trail.
Cronk (6-5, 325) started all 40 games from year one at IU. He was lost for the 2019 season in September against UConn, suffering a severely broken ankle.
In one meeting with IU reporters since the injury, Cronk talked about the rehabilitation and how it was moving along (range of motion, strength exercises). He didn’t say he had solid plans for his senior year. Now he does.
Iowa has a need for an NFL-sized tackle. And a year under Ferentz and offensive line coach Tim Polasek would be a good thing for an NFL-sized tackle with NFL aspirations.
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Half of Iowa’s NFL-sized offensive tackles last week made the jump to NFL offensive tackle. Tristan Wirfs announced he would forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the draft.
The Hawkeyes already scored one potential NFL tackle for 2020. After the Holiday Bowl, senior Alaric Jackson talked about injury frustrations that plagued his performance all season. He didn’t seek a draft opinion and told reporters, “See you next year.”
So, here’s a version of how 2020 could work for Iowa at tackle: You’ll have Jackson in his fourth year as a starter at left tackle, which, probably will never happen again. NFL riches probably won’t allow that to happen.
Right tackle now could be a battle between Cronk and junior Mark Kallenberger, with sophomore Jack Plumb (6-7, 272) and freshmen Nick DeJong (6-6, 275) and Tyler Endres (6-6, 307) possibly having a say.
Kallenberger is 6-5, 291, so he is giving up 34 pounds here, give or take, going into winter workouts.
Kallenberger likely is starting somewhere for the Hawkeyes in 2020. The Bettendorf native ended up starting five games at guard in 2019. With guard Kyler Schott healthy, Kallenberger went back to a rotational role after starting four games. In the Holiday Bowl, the calendar clearly flipped to 2020 for the Iowa staff with Kallenberger getting the start and playing all 64 snaps.
Coming out of high school, Cronk was a Rivals 3-star from LaFayette, Ind., (Central Catholic High School). Cronk had 10 offers, including Iowa State, Illinois and Vanderbilt.
The Hawkeyes started winter workouts this week.
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