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Iowa Football

Big Ten media days: Iowa has a new depth chart

Not a lot has changed since spring, but interesting names keep making some moves

The Hawkeyes’ 2019 media guide cover
The Hawkeyes’ 2019 media guide cover
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CHICAGO — This is the end of the silence for college football people.

Big Ten media days screamed into action Thursday. Yada, yada, yada ... The Hawkeyes put out their first depth chart in the morning.

Yes, yes, a late summer depth chart is the most flimsy thing in football, but it’s something. Remember, this is the end of the silence. It’ll get more interesting, you know that.

And Iowa’s depth chart was the only thing “Iowa” during day 1 of Big Ten media days.

— The offense hasn’t changed much since spring.

Senior Landan Paulsen has moved into one of the guard spots with redshirt freshman Cody Ince backing him up. Levi Paulsen, Landan’s twin brother, spent most of spring as a No. 1 guard. He’s now listed as a backup behind junior Cole Banwart.

— Redshirt freshman Tyler Linderbaum seems likely to be the wire-to-wire No. 1 center for the next four years. Head coach Kirk Ferentz moved him from the D-line before spring practice. Linderbaum has been the unwavering No. 1 since.

— Redshirt freshman wide receiver Calvin Lockett (6-2, 182) has moved into backup X receiver behind junior Brandon Smith. Lockett is from Largo, Fla., and was coached by former Iowa safety Marcus Paschal.

— Running back will be sorted out through fall camp. It will start with juniors Mekhi Sargent and Toren Young on the depth chart. Junior Ivory Kelly-Martin might be No. 3. So might freshmen Shadrick Byrd and Tyler Goodson.

On defense:

— You have to love a little frivolity.

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You know Iowa added the “cash” position in the secondary. It’s a defensive back subbed in for a linebacker. The line on the depth chart for cash is on the same line with “OLB” for outside linebacker.

To make everything fit, Iowa shortened cash to “5,” which is totally correct for the nickelback position.

Redshirt freshman cornerback D.J. Johnson is listed No. 1 at the cash position. Defensive coordinator and secondary coach Phil Parker first started mentioning his name for the position during Outback Bowl prep in Tampa, Fla.

— Linebacker is maybe not what you thought it might be.

Senior Kristian Welch is No. 1 in the middle, with Barrington Wade listed as the starter on the outside and Djimon Colbert on the weakside. Nick Niemann is listed at No. 2 behind Colbert.

— Former linebacker Amani Jones is listed at No. 2 defensive end behind junior A.J. Epenesa. Coaches were pleased with what they saw out of Jones at the position in the spring. Jones suffered an ankle injury late in spring, but seems to have found a new home.

Defensive line coach Kelvin Bell introduced the idea of “edge defenders” this spring. The Hawkeyes have a lot of linebackers and some of them could find a role on the edge.

— Kaevon Merriweather has held the free safety position through spring. He’ll probably get challenged in camp, but the 6-0, 210-pound sophomore might be tough to move.

— Caleb Shudak and Keith Duncan will keep their kicking competition through camp. At punter, senior Colten Rastetter is listed No. 1. Graduate transfer Michael Sleep-Dalton will join the team for fall camp.

The Hawkeyes begin fall camp on Aug. 2.

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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