It's Time To Swarm A PHOTOGRAPHIC preview: Kicking off Iowa Hawkeye Football 2017

There's nothing quite like the gameday atmosphere at beautiful, historic Kinnick Stadium. For seven Saturdays this autumn, The Iowa Hawkeyes will feed off the energy of their home crowd - 70,000+ strong.


While the traditions Hawkeye fans enjoy every Saturday don't often change, the players and coaches do. Let's see what we can expect from the 2017 Iowa Hawkeyes.

Head Coach Kirk Ferentz will begin his 19th season leading the Hawkeyes. He is currently the longest tenured coach in college football.
The 2017 Iowa Hawkeye offense will be called by 1st year Offensive Coordinator Brian Ferentz.
The Hawkeye offense will once again be dominated by a strong ground attack led by a veteran offensive line, talented running backs and a pair of physical, skilled fullbacks. The Hawkeyes will break in a new quarterback and will hope to find some playmakers at the wideout positions.
WR Matt VandeBerg returns as a 5th year senior to lead a young group of talented, yet unproven receivers. While VandeBerg is a proven playmaker that opposing defenses must not sleep on, this unit is the biggest question mark for the Hawkeyes overall as the season begins.
Matt VandeBerg returns from a foot injury that sidelined him for most of the 2016 season and Spring camp. The Hawkeyes will need him healthy to move forward from 2016.
Behind the reliable VandeBerg, Devonte Young was the star of Kid's Day hauling in 2 long TDs. Adrian Falconer looks to provide impact as a junior and Nick Easley has been impressive in camp as a JUCO transfer.
RB Akrum Wadley returns for his senior year and is on the Doak Walker Award watch list. The naturally gifted, shifty ball carrier looks to repeat as a 1,000 rusher for the Hawkeyes. Wadley will likely split the majority of carries with graduate transfer James Butler and Toren Young. We should also expect to see Wadley line up in the slot position to create space for him to use his quick feet.
Is there a more elusive running back in America than Akrum Wadley?
RB James Butler, graduate transfer from University of Nevada, looks every bit the part of the prototypical Iowa power running back and should provide a similar role that LeShun Daniels did. He rushed for a touchdown in the August Kid's Day practice at Kinnick.
RBs Toks Akinribade and Toren Young are also quite capable and should also see plenty of carries. Young was very impressive in the Spring game. The running back position appears very deep and is a clear strength of the 2017 team.
Seniors Ike Boettger and Pre-season All-American Sean Welsh return to lead a very veteran offensive line. The core of starters from the 2016 Joe Moore Award winners return to power the Hawkeye offense.
Junior C James Daniels looks to build on his stellar Hawkeye career anchoring the OL
Iowa will start a new QB in 2017. Tyler Wiegers and Nathan Stanley have been competing since Spring camp. While Wiegers is very athletic and has been in the program a year longer, Stanley has the bigger arm. This will be a position to watch if the offense is slow to develop early in the season.

Noah Fant will start at TE and has impressed coaches with his growth during the offseason.

The 2017 Iowa Hawkeye defense lose former Jim Thorpe award winner Desmond King and DT Jaleel Johnson to the NFL, but veteran defensive coordinator Phil Parker likes what he has seen in camp.
Pre-Season All-American LB Josey Jewell anchors arguably the best group of linebackers in the Big Ten. "The Outlaw" is teamed with OLBs Ben Niemann and Bo Bower.
Hawkeyes fans are accustomed to a physical, swarming defense. The 2017 version shouldn't disappoint.
Junior DE Parker Hesse returns to what should be a very capable defensive front along with the experienced Anthony Nelson and Matt Nelson. Talented sophomore Cedrick Lattimore and workhorse senior Nathan Bazata also return.
LB Ben Niemann is another hard hitting senior leader on defense
OLB Bo Bower returns for his senior season
Manny Rugumba returns from an injury and hopes to pick up where he left off shutting down opposing receivers and making big plays. The secondary is another question mark for the Hawkeyes after Brandon Snyder went down with an injury in the Spring. Jake Gervase will take over for Snyder and we will see plenty of young talent covering the backfield.
Along with Rugumba in the defensive backfield, fans should expect to see a steady rotation of Joshua Jackson, Amani Hooker, Michael Ojemudia, Jake Gervase, and Miles Taylor.
True freshman DE A.J. Epenesa is the star newcomer to the defense. Look for him to get plenty of reps and generate some needed pass rush.
The Hawkeye's special teams unit will need to replace punter Ron Coluzzi. Smart Hawkeye fans know that there is a fine line that exists between winning and losing games and this unit must perform at a high level every game. Throughout camp there is an active competition between PKs Keith Duncan and Miguel Recinos.
Who will be the new punter behind the curtain?
The Hawkeyes are perceived to have quite a difficult schedule in 2017. Home games are against Wyoming, North Texas, Penn State, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio State, and Purdue. The Hawkeyes will travel to Iowa State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Nebraska. Wyoming boasts a likely NFL 1st Round pick at quarterback that will present a tough challenge for the young Iowa secondary right out of the chute. 2017 also marks the first season since 2013 that Iowa will play the Buckeyes.

Boasting a strong running game behind one of the nation's top offensive lines, a solid defensive line and linebackers, the Hawkeyes should be able to compete with anyone on their schedule. Once again sound fundamentals, physicality, mistake-free execution, limiting injuries to skill players and tremendous home crowd support will be needed if Iowa hopes to compete for the Big Ten Championship. After all, those are the hallmarks of successful Hawkeye teams.

Created By
Dennis Scheidt


All photographs by "Hawkeye Images" (@webcentrick) for HawkeyeReport.com

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