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Depth at defensive end has been an issue for Iowa in recent years -- departures like this are part of that problem.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

This move seemed like a foregone conclusion when these tweets popped up:

When an Iowa player who isn't a senior who's used up his eligibility starts tweeting, it petty much means just one thing: he's no longer a part of the program. Thursday we got confirmation of that:

On the surface, Harris' departure doesn't seem like a huge deal -- he was an unheralded second-year player who had never sniffed the depth chart. And he's a classic example of the type of guys that Iowa tends to lose to attrition -- a 2* recruit from New Jersey. In and of itself, the loss of Harris isn't a big deal -- he wasn't likely to play a big role on the 2016 Iowa team (or even future Iowa teams).

His departure does speak to the problems that Iowa has had at defensive end for a while, though.  That's a position where Iowa has been sorely lacking in depth -- Iowa had two redshirt freshmen waiting in the wings behind seniors Drew Ott and Nate Meier this year... and no one else.  Where are all the junior and sophomore defensive ends? Nowhere to be found, partly because Iowa hasn't been recruiting them.  Iowa didn't add a single defensive end in 2013, although there was some hope that Reggie Spearman might evolve into a pass rush specialist. Rivals thought they added three in 2012 (Drew Ott, Faith Ekakitie, and Daumantas Venckus), but only Ott stuck at defensive end.  Ekakitie evolved into a defensive tackle and Venckus ended up being a flyer that didn't pan out.

Iowa's hit up defensive end more in recent classes.  2014 brought Matt Nelson (in line to start next year), Harris, and Parker Hesse (a 6-3, 205 lb. athlete as a recruit who's added 35 lbs. and become a defensive end). They added three more defensive end prospects in the 2015 class -- Brady Reiff, Anthony Nelson (on the new two-deeps), and Michael Slater (who seems destined for a move inside). And they made a very concerted effort to add talent at end in the current recruiting class -- it presently includes five players who could wind up there (Chauncey Golston, Cedrick Lattimore, Romeo McKnight, Austin Schulte, and Brandon Simon).

So, no, the loss of Harris in and of itself probably won't hurt Iowa that much.  But it is a reminder that Iowa needs to address the position in every recruiting class. If you're a developmental program, you need to have guys in multiple stages of development, ready to plug in when needed.  If you don't, you wind up with the problem Iowa had this year -- no depth behind Ott and Meier.  Hesse showed pretty well for himself when called upon to replace Ott, and Nelson had some good flashes, but in an ideal situation, neither guy has to play so much as a redshirt freshman. Both guys were called on to play so much because Iowa had struggled to recruit, retain, and develop defensive ends for a few years before they got here.  And that problem gets a little harder every time a defensive end decides to transfer away.

Best of luck to Harris at his next destination.