Iowa Hawkeyes to open season minus RB Gavin Williams, WR Keagan Johnson

·2 min read

Reports surfaced just before kickoff of the 2022 season opener against South Dakota State that the Iowa Hawkeyes would be without their top running back and arguably their top wide receiver in running back Gavin Williams and wide receiver Keagan Johnson, respectively.

According to Hawk Central’s Chad Leistikow, it sounds like an ankle injury that is sidelining Williams. Meanwhile, Johnson has been dealing with injuries all throughout the offseason and now he is set to miss the Hawkeyes’ opener per the Iowa communication staff.

With Iowa already minus one of its other top wide receivers in Nico Ragaini for several weeks to start 2022, it feels like the Hawkeyes have taken several bullets before the season has even started. It does present an opportunity for a pair of walk-on receivers in Alec Wick and Jack Johnson to potentially star in the opener against the Jackrabbits. Perhaps Jacob Bostick as well.

Iowa has also lost wide receiver Jackson Ritter for the season and fellow wide receiver Diante Vines is out for probably the first half of the season as well.

In terms of wide receivers, Johnson and Ragaini were No. 1 and No. 2 for Iowa in 2021 in receiving yardage. Johnson finished with 18 grabs for 352 yards, while Ragaini registered 26 receptions for 331. Naturally, that’s some important production to try to replace in the opener versus a talented FCS team in South Dakota State.

Williams was Iowa’s No. 2 running back last year and finished the season with 65 rushes for 305 yards. While Gavin Williams entered as Iowa’s No. 1 running back on the depth chart this year, Leshon Williams was expected to factor in heavily. Now, he gets the chance as Iowa’s featured runner in the opener.

After Leshon Williams, look for the freshmen running backs Jaziun Patterson and Kaleb Johnson to see some carries as well.

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Story originally appeared on Hawkeyes Wire