Three fresh faces for Iowa in 2009
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
Every Big Ten title contender will need production from some new sources to reach the pinnacle this fall, and Iowa is no exception. Though the Hawkeyes return a lot of experience on defense, a seasoned quarterback in Ricky Stanzi and several veteran offensive linemen, they'll be looking to newcomers for contributions.
In the coming weeks, I'll examine three newcomers to watch from each Big Ten team. Iowa is up first.
OFFENSE -- Keenan Davis, WR, Fr.
Iowa loses two of its two three pass-catchers from 2008, and there are opportunities to step up in the passing game. Davis comes to Iowa with a good deal of hype after twice earning all-state honors at Washington High School in Cedar Rapids. He boasts excellent size (6-foot-3, 200 pounds) and will spend the summer in Iowa's training program. Marvin McNutt's spring surge up the depth chart suggests the competition at wide receiver is fairly wide open, and Davis could get on the field immediately and play a key role.
DEFENSE -- Mike Daniels, DT, So.
Daniels isn't exactly a newcomer after appearing in eight games last fall as a reserve, but his limited production qualifies him as a fresh face to watch. It's no secret Iowa's biggest holes come at defensive tackle after the losses of Mitch King and Matt Kroul. Daniel entered the spring listed as a starter opposite Karl Klug and should play a bunch this fall. Like King, Daniel isn't huge for a defensive tackle (6-1, 267), and it be will interesting to see whether he can clog running lanes.
SPECIAL TEAMS -- Brandon Wegher, RB, Fr.
You have to imagine Iowa will find a spot for Wegher on special teams, possibly as a kick return man. Running back Jewel Hampton and wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos were listed as starting kick returners on the spring depth chart, but both men are projected as starters. Head coach Kirk Ferentz might not want to risk an injury with either of those two, and Wegher could do some damage. He comes in as arguably Iowa's most heralded recruit after rushing for 105 touchdowns in high school.