CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli predicts Lukas Van Ness to wreak havoc in 2022

·3 min read

It appears the Iowa Hawkeyes may have their next big thing on the defensive line. That next big thing comes in the form of sophomore defensive end Lukas Van Ness.

Van Ness hails from Barrington High School in the suburbs of Chicago and found himself beginning to blossom last season in a rotational capacity. His performance earned him a spot on the Football Writers Association of America and Maxwell Football Club’s Freshman All-America teams.

The fact that he wasn’t an every down player makes his performance that much more impressive. CBS Sports’ Tom Fornelli thinks Van Ness may just be scratching the surface of what his ceiling could be. He believes the sophomore may be Iowa’s answer to constant pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Lukas Van Ness is ready to terrorize backfields: Iowa didn’t have a traditional spring game, opting instead for an open practice. Those who attended got a glimpse of Iowa’s next great pass-rusher. Van Ness was impressive during his freshman season in 2021, finishing with seven sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. And he did that before spending a full year in the strength and conditioning program. Van Ness looked bigger, quicker and meaner this spring, and will be a part of many a nightmare in 2022. – Fornelli, CBS Sports.

Fornelli is right about Van Ness looking bigger entering the 2022 season. At the spring game, he appeared to be bigger than his freshman campaign. It isn’t often to have the combination of height, size and strength to go with the flexibility it takes to turn the corner as a defensive end, but that’s what Iowa’s strength and conditioning program is known for. They take natural size and talent and turn it into All-American outputs.

Van Ness seemed to find his groove down the stretch last season. Through the final three games, he tallied a combined 13 tackles, two sacks, and a quarterback pressure. That performance against all Power Five schools may be the catalyst that springboards him into the next level of Big Ten defensive linemen.

In recent years, Iowa has churned out A.J. Epenesa, Chauncey Golston, and Daviyon Nixon as high-quality defensive linemen making it to the NFL. Van Ness has the intangibles and appears to be quickly figuring out the intricacies of the position. A big 2022 season for Van Ness may not be an overreaction at all. Instead, that might be exactly what’s in order for Van Ness and Hawkeye fans in 2022.

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