Iowa Hawkeyes 2023 Positional Breakdown: Scouting the tight ends

Iowa University is Tight End U. Don’t give me some talk about teams that were great at a time before most collegiate athletes were even alive. We’re talking right now. We’re talking current day, and nobody produces tight ends like Iowa.

Since the Mackey Award was first instituted in 2000, two Hawkeyes have won the award in Dallas Clark (2002) and T.J. Hockenson (2018). Hockenson was joined by his teammate Noah Fant that year as a semifinalist for the award. Iowa had two straight semifinalists for the award in Allen Reisner (2010) and Tony Moeaki (2009), respectively.

Last year Sam LaPorta was named one of three finalists for the award. This was the same year he was named first-team All-Big Ten and was the Kwalick–Clark Tight End of the Year, an award partially named after, you guessed it, a former Iowa Hawkeye.

This doesn’t even mention the best of the bunch George Kittle, a fifth-round pick back in 2017 who has only been named an All-Pro three times while making the Pro Bowl four times.

Through college acclaim and professional success, Iowa has dominated the tight end position like no other. That trend does not look likely to end in 2023 one bit. Here is a breakdown of the tight end position for Iowa this upcoming season.

Projected Depth Chart

(Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images)
(Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images)

Starter: Luke Lachey

Second Starter: Erick All

Third String: Addison Ostrenga

Career Stats

Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Luke Lachey: 36 receptions, 531 receiving yards, 14.8 yards per reception, four receiving touchdowns

Erick All: 54 receptions, 565 receiving yards, 10.5 yards per receptions, two receiving touchdowns.

Addison Ostrenga: No offensive stats recorded

What Iowa did last year

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

Iowa did what they always do and dominated at tight end. While numbers were a bit down once again due to the bad passing offense, both Sam LaPorta and Luke Lachey had great years. LaPorta was a finalist for the Mackey Award after once again leading the Hawkeyes offense with 58 receptions and 657 yards. Lachey had a quiet breakout year as well, leading the Hawkeyes with four receiving touchdowns. He had as many as the rest of the team combined, while also totaling 398 receiving yards, good for second-most on the team.

What They Added

Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK
Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

While Iowa lost a superstar tight end this offseason in LaPorta, they added a starting-caliber player in his stead. Erick All followed his quarterback Cade McNamara from Michigan to Iowa this offseason. All had a career year back in 2021 as one of McNamara’s favorite targets. He was second on that Big Ten Championship-winning team in receptions (38) and receiving yards (437). He also reached the end zone twice.


Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK
Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Normally, losing one of the best tight ends in the nation would be a big blow for most teams. Iowa is not most teams though. Sure, they will miss having a player like LaPorta. He had special abilities with the ball in his hands, something the NFL is already starting to learn.

Iowa figures to be more than alright though, boasting one of the top tight end rooms in the nation. Lachey and All should both be starters in Iowa’s system. All already has a built-in chemistry with McNamara back from their days with the Wolverines. Lachey looked like a star already last year for the Hawkeyes, especially in that final game against Nebraska. I really think one of these two could make a run at the Mackey Award.

Do not forget about Addison Ostrenga though! The sophomore tight end saw action as a true freshman last year, and has impressed all offseason. Even if it’s not this year, he surely can be a big time player for the Hawkeyes.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire