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Jameer is Outta here

NCAA Football: North Texas at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Iowa football had a bit of a scholarship crunch on their hands after the 2015 season and they were going to have a smaller 2017 recruiting class as a result? Yeah, that’s not really too much of an issue any longer. Iowa announced on Friday that tight end Jameer Outsey was transferring away from the program:

We described Outsey as a tight end in the previous sentence, but that’s merely the last position he played at for Iowa. He arrived at Iowa in 2014 on the defensive side of the ball — he had a defensive end number, but spent most of his time working at linebacker during his redshirt season. Last year, though, with the depth chart at linebacker clogged, he made he move to tight end, where things were much thinner behind an injured Jake Duzey, senior Henry Krieger-Coble, and junior George Kittle. Outsey emerged as a depth option at the position, behind Krieger-Coble and Kittle, but still seeing some action. He started one game (against Iowa State) and caught one pass for ten yards (against Illinois State).

Outsey was listed as second-string behind Kittle on the spring depth chart, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a lot in terms of potential playing time. Iowa plays two tight ends heavily — last year Kittle and Krieger-Coble each had 20 or more catches and 290+ yards — so even at second-string Outsey could have been in line for a fair amount of work. And with Kittle a senior in 2016, Outsey might have been one of the favorites to become a lead option at tight end in 2017.

On the other hand, while Outsey may have been listed as second-string on the depth chart, spring depth charts are not necessarily the most reliable source of information. Juniors Jon Wisnieski and Peter Pekar (a walk-on) appeared to be gaining ground on Outsey during spring practice and they may have been favored to play ahead of him this fall even before Outsey’s departure. Regardless, they’re certainly the main options behind Kittle now (possibly along with incoming freshmen Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, whose odds of seeing the field are probably a bit higher now), which means that Iowa has very little in the way of experience and production behind Kittle. Wrap George in bubble-wrap, please.

Outsey becomes the 7th Iowa player to transfer away since January, joining defensive backs Maurice Fleming and Omar Truitt, running back Eric Graham, linebacker Justin Jinning, wide receiver Andre Harris, and defensive end Terrence Harris. Outside of Fleming and Outsey, none of them were represented on Iowa’s depth chart and were unlikely be relied upon as significant contributors in 2016, but their departures do rob Iowa of some depth and put pressure on younger, less-experiened players to be ready to play even sooner. That’s not great for a program that relies so heavily on development and continuity.