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Iowa Hawkeyes 2021 College Football Team Breakdown (Depth Chart, Schedule & Betting Preview)

Matt Gajewski



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No. 18 Iowa Hawkeyes

2020 Record: 6-2
Returning Starters: Offense No. 7, Defense No. 7
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Key Metrics and Personnel

  • Head Coach — Kirk Ferentz
  • Offensive Coordinator — Brian Ferentz
  • Defensive Coordinator — Phil Parker
  • Points/Game — 31.8 (31st)
  • Plays/Game — 69.4 (89th)
  • Pass Rate — 46.67 (64th)
  • Yards/Att R — 4.6 (48th)
  • Yards/Att P — 6.4 (98th)
  • Yards/Att Allowed R — 2.8 (5th)
  • Yards Att Allowed P — 6.0 (6th)
  • Points Allowed/Game — 16.0 (6th)
  • Vegas Win Total – 8.5, Over -105, Under -115


Kirk Ferentz has been Iowa’s head coach since 1999. His son Brian Ferentz took over as offensive coordinator in 2017. Phil Parker has been an assistant for Ferentz for 21 years and will be in his 10th year as defensive coordinator.

Recruiting Class: No. 24

Top Recruits:

  • Connor Colby — OL — No. 225
  • Justice Sullivan — EDGE — No. 300
  • Arland Bruce — ATH — No. 329
  • Beau Stephens — OT — No. 353
  • Cooper DeJean — S — No. 354
  • Keagan Johnson — ATH — No. 356


  • Xavier Williams (Northern Iowa — S)

Daily Fantasy Players to Watch

RB Tyler Goodson, WR Nico Ragaini

Iowa Hawkeyes Depth Chart

Offense: 7 Returning Starters

  • QB: Spencer Petras, Alex Padilla
  • RB: Tyler Goodson, Ivory Kelly-Martin
  • WR1: Tyron Tracy, Arland Bruce
  • WR2: Nico Ragaini, Max Cooper
  • WR3: Keagan Johnson, Desmond Hutson
  • TE: Sam LaPorta, Luke Lachey
  • LT: Jack Plumb, Mason Richman
  • LG: Justin Britt, Tyler Elsbury
  • C: Tyler Linderbaum, Matt Fagan
  • RG: Kyler Schott, Josh Volk
  • RT: Cody Ince, Nick DeJong

Defense: 7 Returning Starters

  • Edge: John Waggoner, Joe Evans
  • DT: Noah Shannon
  • DT: Yahya Black
  • Edge: Zach VanValkenburg
  • LB: Seth Benson
  • LB: Jack Campbell, Jestin Jacobs
  • CB: Matt Hankins
  • CB: Riley Moss
  • CB-N Dane Belton
  • S: Kaevon Merriweather
  • S: Jack Koerner
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Iowa Hawkeyes Breakdown

Iowa enters the second year of the Spencer Petras experiment at quarterback. Petras completed 57.1% of his passes for 1569 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He does not run the ball either. He will be backed up by Alex Padilla and Deuce Hogan.

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At running back Tyler Goodson holds it down. He rushed for 762 yards on 143 carries as a sophomore and added 15 receptions. He also rushed for 638 yards on 134 carries as a freshman. Goodson had 24 receptions that year and even lined up in the slot or out wide at times. His backup, Ivory Kelly-Martin, is an experienced veteran. Gavin Williams and Leshon Williams round out the team for depth.

Receiver is not a strength after losing Ihmir Smith-Marsette to the NFL draft. Brandon Smith also transferred out, leaving Nico Ragaini as the leader. He has 18 catches for 191 yards. Tyrone Tracy is second in line after 14 catches for 154 yards last year. Iowa runs a lot of 12 personnel and uses a fullback at times, reducing 11 personnel packages. Freshman Keagan Johnson likely will play due to the weak depth chart. Arland Bruce, Max Cooper and Desmond Hutson are names to watch.

The tight end is perhaps the biggest strength for Iowa, as it has been for years. Sam LaPorta is the leading receiver among returners. He caught 27 passes for 271 yards. Luke Lachey and Josiah Miamen probably play a little in 12-personnel packages.

Iowa’s offensive line will look vastly different after losing Alaric Jackson, Coy Cronk, Cole Banwart and Mark Kallenberger. Fortunately, they return First Team All-Big Ten center Tyler Linderbaum. Kyler Schott has seven starts at guard. Cody Ince has six starts at guard. Justin Britt is also a candidate to start at guard if Ince moves outside to tackle. Jack Plumb is the favorite to play left tackle after receiving two starts at right tackle last year. Ince or redshirt freshman Nick DeJong could play right tackle.

On defense Iowa lost ChaunceyGolston,DaviyonNixon,JackHeflin and Nick Niemann. They should be particularly strong on defense again. The secondary is their strength. On the defensive line Zach VanValkenburg and John Waggoner should start on the edges. VanValkenburg is a returning starter. Joe Evans also provides depth. Yahya Black and Noah Shannon man the interior with little starting experience. Linebacker is also a strength, with Seth Benson, Jack Campbell and Jestin Jacobs returning. Dane Belton has eight starts at nickel, Riley Moss has six at corner and Matt Hankins has 10 at corner. Kaevon Merriweather returns to start at safety alongside Second-Team All-Conference player Jack Koerner.

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Iowa 2021 Football Schedule

  • Sept. 4 Indiana 3:30 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 11 Iowa State 4:30 p.m. Away
  • Sept. 18 Kent State 3:30 p.m. Home
  • Sept. 25 Colorado St 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 1 Maryland 8:00 p.m. Away
  • Oct. 9 Penn State 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 16 Purdue 1:00 p.m. Home
  • Oct. 30 Wisconsin 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 6 Northwestern 1:00 p.m. Away
  • Nov. 13 Minnesota 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 20 Illinois 12:00 p.m. Home
  • Nov. 26 Nebraska 1:30 p.m. Away

Iowa Football Betting Outlook

Iowa has a tough schedule in the Big Ten West. They face Wisconsin on the road. They also draw Maryland, Indiana and Penn State from the East. In non-conference play, they drew a road game against Iowa State. They even face Kent State, who projects to win the MAC. Wins against Kent State, Colorado State, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois and Nebraska only total seven. Then they must pick up two wins over Iowa State, Indiana, Maryland, Penn State and Wisconsin.

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Matt Gajewski graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Economics. Matt has worked in the fantasy industry for the past four years, focusing on DFS and Sports Betting. Matt specializes in NFL, College Football, College Basketball, XFL, and MMA. With GPP victories across the major sports, Matt also qualified for the DraftKings 2020 Sports Betting Championship and won a seat to the College Basketball Tourney Mania final.

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