WALK-ONS ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF EVERY PROGRAM. For a development program such as Iowa, perhaps, they are a little more important. These guys don't get the scholarship money the prospects Iowa signed last Wednesday get. They do get the same opportunity to impress coaches and earn that scholarship later on down the road. These guys had options. Some of them turned down partial scholarship money to play at the FCS level. They are chasing a dream to play for Iowa and the at the Big Ten level.
THE CURRENT ROSTER HAS PLENTY. Mark Weisman started his career at Iowa as a walk-on. Travis Perry, a possible starting linebacker this upcoming season, is a walk-on from Urbandale, Iowa. He should get or has received a scholarship. Wide receiver Riley McCarron saw action last year. Placekicker Marshall Koehn is a walk-on; he'll likely handle Iowa's kickoff duties.
The Hawks landed a handful of walk-ons last season that could break into the two deeps this Fall. Don't be surprised if Chad Gilson is in the two-deep at linebacker. Same goes for Connor Keane at safety and Boone Meyers at offensive tackle. Cole Croston is another walk-on to remember. He started his career in 2012 and could push for a starting spot at guard this season.
A FEW OF THESE GUYS WILL EVENTUALLY MAKE THE TWO-DEEPS OR EVEN BECOME STARTERS. These are Iowa's 2014 preferred walk-ons:
ZACH JOHNSON 6'3" 245 pounds Minnentonka, Minnesota long snapper
You can never have too many specialists. Casey Kreiter departs and Iowa will have only freshman Tyler Kluver on the roster as a long snapper. Johnson can compete right away for the position but at 245 will need to add some weight before streaking down field to make a tackle in Big Ten play. He was given 3.5 stars by Kohl's kicking camp.
JACOB SOBOTKA 6'3" 215 pounds Mt. Ayr, Iowa athlete
Sobotka had a partial scholarship offer from Northwest Missouri State but turned it down to walk-on at Iowa. He was a dual-threat quarterback at Mt. Ayr but will move over to linebacker at Iowa. We can only hope he sees the field at some point so we can call him by his new nickname: Ziggy.
DALTON FERGUSON 6'4" 315 pounds Solon, Iowa offensive line
Iowa has a lot of success with walk-on offensive linemen from in-state. Current Hawkeyes Cole Croston and Boone Meyers will be in the mix this upcoming season and they joined the program as preferred walk-ons. At 6'4", Ferguson has offensive tackle potential. He had FCS options including Northern Iowa.
BRANDON SNYDER 6' 190 pounds Inwood, Iowa safety
Iowa stole one from FCS king North Dakota State. Snyder, a life-long Iowa fan, turned down a scholarship to come play for the Hawks. He played quarterback at West Lyon and had five interceptions on the defensive side of the ball. He'll play defense for Iowa and most likely start out at safety.
JAKE GERVASE 6' 160 pounds Davenport, Iowa safety
Excited to say that I have committed to play for the Iowa Hawkeyes!! Thanks to my family, teammates, and Assumption for the opportunity.— Jake Gervase (@jakegervase10) February 5, 2014
Like Snyder and Sobotka, Jake Gervase played quarterback and safety for his high school team. He was named the Quad-City Times' Metro Player of the Year for his season at Assumption. He considered heading to Boston College (walk-on) to be with his brother and had an offer from Air Force. He had eight interceptions as a safety last year and projects to that position at Iowa.
MIGUEL RECINOS 6'1" 170 pounds Mason City, Iowa kicker
Iowa added a kicker on scholarship this recruiting class (Mick Ellis) and they didn't want an in-state prospect to get away. Miguel Recinos is a five-star kicker according to Kohl's kicking camp. He heard from other BCS programs but ultimately picked Iowa for the medical school. He drilled a 58-yard field goal last season and hit on 10/16 field goal attempts. He also averaged 43.7 yards per punt.
ERIC GRIMM 6'2" 200 pounds Olney, Maryland linebacker
Grimm played linebacker and tight end for Good Counsel High School. He'll likely play linebacker at Iowa. He considered Florida State as a walk-on before deciding on the Hawks. His dad is former Notre Dame linebacker Donn Grimm.
SAM BRINCKS 6'5" 221 pounds Carroll, Iowa tight end/defensive end
Among those joining D-I programs are Carroll Kuemper QB Cole Neary (Drake) & lineman Sam Brincks (preferred walk-on to Iowa).— Kevin White (@KWhiteOWH) February 5, 2014
Brincks missed some of his senior season with a broken leg. He finished the year at offensive tackle and played defensive end. The defensive side is where he'll likely play at Iowa. He had an opportunity at Northern Iowa but decided on the Hawkeyes instead.