It’s officially game week! The Iowa Hawkeyes will play host to the Utah State Aggies come Saturday, Sept. 2, inside Kinnick Stadium at 11 a.m. on FS1.
It’s the third all-time meeting between the two. The Hawkeyes own a 2-0 mark, topping the Aggies, 70-14 during the 1957 season and, 48-7, back in 2002.
This marks the second straight season that Iowa has played host to a Mountain West Conference foe. Last season, Iowa shutout Nevada, 27-0, in a Week 3 contest that was perhaps best remembered for all of its weather delays. The Hawkeyes boast an 11-1-1 mark versus MWC opposition.
With game week’s arrival, it also means an official depth chart sighting.
A look at Iowa's full Week 1 depth chart versus Utah State. pic.twitter.com/806EqRTpbA
— Hawkeyes Wire (@HawkeyesWire) August 28, 2023
What stands out about the Hawkeyes’ initial 2023 depth chart? Let’s dive in below.
Cade McNamara is starting!
It’s the obvious headliner. After a non-contact injury scare, Cade McNamara is indeed listed as the starter against Utah State.
For a fan base that’s desperate to see this offense make serious strides in 2023, that’s a nice sigh of relief. It’s also important for McNamara to get some starting seat time before the rivalry road trip to Iowa State.
The 6-foot-1, 205 pound signal-caller passed for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns while guiding the Michigan Wolverines to a Big Ten championship in 2021.
Noah Shannon isn't listed
Noah Shannon’s involvement in the Iowa gambling investigation has been well documented. Recently, Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz revealed that Shannon has been suspended for the entirety of the 2023 college football season.
Per Ferentz, Shannon bet on one Iowa athletics event, and it wasn’t football. Shannon is appealing the suspension and Ferentz and Iowa are hopeful the NCAA will rethink its decision, but Iowa is proceeding forward as though Aurora, Ill., product won’t be available.
Iowa’s defensive tackle starters are junior Yahya Black and senior Logan Lee. Backing those two up are sophomores Aaron Graves and Jeremiah Pittman.
Neither Rusty Feth nor Daijon Parker is starting
Neither of Iowa’s transfer portal additions along the offensive line are listed as starters. Saginaw Valley State transfer Daijon Parker was slowed by injuries in the spring and throughout fall camp, so he might still be getting up to speed. The same goes for Rusty Feth to some degree, who joined the team in the summer.
The Week 1 depth chart is a starting point and not a finished product, but right now Parker and Feth are listed as the No. 2 guys at left guard and right tackle.
Iowa’s current offensive line starters look like this: left tackle Mason Richman, left guard Nick DeJong, center Logan Jones, right guard Connor Colby and right tackle Gennings Dunker.
Kyler Fisher is starting at Leo
Listed as the backup weak side linebacker to begin the spring, Kyler Fisher has ascended to the starting Leo. The 5-foot-11, 233 pound linebacker figures to earn plenty of snaps alongside starting middle and weak side linebackers Jay Higgins and Nick Jackson.
It’s great news for the Farnhamville, Iowa, product. Some are asking the question if it means that Sebastian Castro will see less time as the CASH. The 5-foot-11, 205 pound native of Oak Lawn, Ill., played in all 13 games and started eight last season. Castro should still see plenty of snaps when Iowa wants more coverage on the field.
More than anything, this just seems to signal that Fisher is set to be a serious factor for this Hawkeye defense.
Options at wide receiver
Finally, there are talented, healthy options at wide receiver. Like with the offensive line, neither of Iowa’s prized transfer portal wide receiver additions are listed as starters versus Utah State.
It feels like fans can read less into that here as compared to the offensive line. Both Seth Anderson and Kaleb Brown are going to be important pieces straight away. Their additions means Iowa has multiple bodies it can count on in the receiving corps.
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