Extreme Hawkeye Makeover: Recapping Iowa’s transfer portal facelift
Unlike previous offseasons, the Iowa Hawkeyes coaching staff wasn’t messing around in this go-around.
After the Hawkeyes combined for just a pair of transfer additions each of the last two offseasons, Iowa made a point to go and upgrade its roster via the NCAA transfer portal.
In fact, dating back to the transfer portal’s adoption in October of 2018, the Hawkeyes had brought aboard just nine transfer additions across the 2019-22 recruiting classes. Iowa’s nearly matched that total just in this offseason alone, bringing in eight players from the transfer portal.
“The biggest takeaway I’d give you is the world does change. It continues to evolve. We’re definitely more interested now than we would have been, say, a couple years ago, whenever it became the portal. I think there’s some benefit, there’s some opportunity there,” Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz said after the Hawkeyes’ open spring practice.
Here’s a look back at everyone that has joined the Hawkeyes and how they fit into the equation for Iowa.
QB Cade McNamara
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK
By now, most know the story nationally. A transfer from Michigan, Cade McNamara is this transfer portal haul’s big fish for the Hawkeyes. While there are plenty of other notable additions that just might morph Iowa back into a serious Big Ten title contender, upgrading the game’s most important position was a must for the Hawks.
Iowa has done so with a signal-caller that directed Michigan to the Big Ten Championship win over the Hawkeyes in the 2021 season. McNamara passed for 2,576 yards and 15 touchdowns. Iowa finished with seven touchdown passes in all of 2022 and just 19 combined over the last two seasons.
The best part about McNamara? He genuinely believes he’s going to turn this Hawkeye offense around.
QB Deacon Hill
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK
With both Alex Padilla and Carson May transferring out to SMU and Coffeyville Community College, respectively, Iowa was in the market for some backup quarterback help.
By the looks and sounds of it this spring, Deacon Hill has come over from Wisconsin and appears primed to take over the No. 2 quarterback job. Alongside Joe Labas and signee Marco Lainez III, Iowa has restocked its quarterback room well.
TE Erick All
Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
It didn’t take long for Erick All to join McNamara as a fellow Michigan-to-Iowa transfer. All played in just three games last season with the Wolverines and underwent season-ending surgery in November. In 2021, he was one of the Big Ten’s best, though.
Given a clean bill of health, the 6-foot-5, 255 pound tight end figures to be an explosive playmaker straight away at Iowa. All was an All-Big Ten honorable mention selection in 2021 after registering 437 receiving yards on 38 grabs with a pair of touchdowns. Alongside Luke Lachey, he should form arguably the Big Ten’s best tight end duo.
OT Daijon Parker
Let’s rock! #Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/u18kZk10T9
— Daijon Parker (@_Gym_Rat) January 7, 2023
Iowa won out over fellow Power 5 programs Virginia and Washington State for offensive tackle transfer Daijon Parker. The 6-foot-5, 300 pound lineman comes over from Saginaw Valley State where he appeared in 21 games over the last two seasons. Parker should help stabilize a group of offensive tackles that features Mason Richman and Nick DeJong. Parker was No. 2 on the depth chart behind DeJong at right tackle to begin the spring.
IOL Rusty Feth
(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Rusty Feth will arrive from Miami (Ohio) this summer after he started 34 career games, including 25 straight over the last two seasons at center with the RedHawks. A 6-foot-5, 305 pound lineman, Feth earned second-team all-MAC honors in 2022.
He could be a plug-and-play guy inside for the Hawkeyes at either center or guard. To start the spring, Iowa’s top two on the depth chart at left guard were Connor Colby and Tyler Elsbury. At center, Iowa’s top two were Logan Jones and Michael Myslinski. Lastly, at right guard, the Hawkeyes’ top two to start spring were Beau Stephens and Gennings Dunker.
WR Seth Anderson
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports
The 6-foot, 178 pound wide receiver announced his decision to join the Hawkeyes on New Year’s Day. The Suwanee, Ga., native reeled in 42 grabs for 612 yards and seven touchdowns last year with Charleston Southern. Seth Anderson earned Big South Freshman of the Year honors and was a second-team All-Big South selection.
A soft tissue injury kept Anderson out of spring football practices, but he will have every chance to factor into the Hawkeyes’ two-deep come the summer and fall.
WR Kaleb Brown
🏠 🏠 🏠 pic.twitter.com/M8bNCOzNIS
— KB (@ikaleb35) May 5, 2023
The latest transfer portal addition is also the highest-rated. As a matter of fact, Kaleb Brown’s 247Sports rating coming out of high school is the highest in Hawkeye history.
The 5-foot-10, 197 pound wide receiver brings some highly sought-after star power to the receiver corps. Brown had just one catch for five yards at Ohio State in his true freshman season. In Iowa City, Brown will be expected to step right into a starring role.
LB Nick Jackson
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A two-time second-team All-ACC selection, Nick Jackson brings a wealth of experience and production over from Virginia. The 6-foot-1, 234 pound linebacker has started 33 games and played in 46 over the course of his college career.
Jackson registered 354 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, eight pass breakups and one forced fumble during his time with the Cavs. The Atlanta, Ga., native should slot in right next to fellow projected starter Jay Higgins to form another fantastic Hawkeye linebacking duo.
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