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DEPTH CHARTIN': IOWA RELEASES AUGUST TWO-DEEPS

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The return of football is getting closer and closer.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Media Days are underway and while there hasn't been much in the way of Iowa news (Kirk Ferentz isn't scheduled to speak until tomorrow morning), we did get a new depth chart.  Which is a football-related thing that we can talk about, I suppose.

OFFENSE

QB: C.J. Beathard (SR), Tyler Wiegers (SO)
RB: LeShun Daniels, Jr. (SR), Akrum Wadley (JR)
FB: Drake Kulick (JR), Brady Ross (RS FR)
WR: Jerminic Smith (SO) OR Jay Scheel (SO)
WR: Matthew VandeBerg (SR), Jonathan Parker (JR)
WR: Riley McCarron (SR), Adrian Falconer (SO)
TE: George Kittle (SR), Peter Pekar (JR) or Jon Wisnieski (JR)
LT: Cole Croston (SR), Brett Waechter (RS FR)
LG: Boone Myers (JR), Lucas LeGrand (SO)
C: Sean Welsh (JR), Steve Ferentz (SR)
RG: James Daniels (SO), Keegan Render (SO)
RT: Ike Boettger (JR), Dalton Ferguson (SO)

The last spring depth chart weirdly had Sean Welsh pulling double duty at center and right guard (I like Welsh plenty, but if we're going to be cloning players, I'd start with someone at a position of need, like, say, Drew Ott... I'm sure his heretofore unknown baby brother Stew Ott could help Iowa's pass rush this year), but now that James Daniels is healthy he takes over the RG spot on the depth chart.  He was being groomed as the center of the future at one point, so there's a decent chance that the coaches may experiment with him at center and Welsh at right guard during fall practice.  The buzz on Welsh was good coming out of spring practice, though, so perhaps they'll be satisfied with things as-is.  The only other change on the OL is the wonderfully-named Lucas LeGrand replacing Ryan Ward as the back-up left guard.

At the skill positions, the most notable change is that Jerminic Smith and Jay Scheel are apparently now in a dead heat for the starting split end spot.  Could #Scheelamania be closer to running wild on everyone this fall?  Perhaps! In other WR news, Jonathan Parker has emerged from his post-TaxSlayer Bowl exile and is listed as the back-up behind Matt VandeBerg here.  Is he really in the mix for playing time this fall?  Iowa has brought in a lot of young wide receivers the past few recruiting classes and outside of VandeBerg there isn't anything in the way of "sure things" at that position, so the competition should be pretty fierce this fall. Hopefully some promising targets emerge.

Jameer Outsey's departure opens up the back-up tight end spot on the depth chart, with walk-on Peter Pekar and Jon Wisnieski sharing time there for now.  George Kittle only has one more year in black and gold, so it would be very reassuring if either Pekar or Wisnieski would flash enough this fall to give us some tangible hope for the future. Plus, we all know Iowa likes to use multiple tight ends, so the offense is going to need someone other than Kittle to emerge as a viable weapon in that position.

DEFENSE

DE: Matt Nelson (SO), Sam Brincks (SO)
DT: Jaleel Johnson (SR), Faith Ekakitie (SR)
DT: Nathan Bazata (JR), Jake Hulett (JR)
DE: Parker Hesse (SO), Anthony Nelson (RS FR)
OLB: Ben Niemann (JR), Bo Bower (JR)
MLB: Josey Jewell (JR), Angelo Garbutt (RS FR)
WLB: Aaron Mends (SO), Jack Hockaday (SO)
CB: Greg Mabin (SR), Michael Ojemudia (RS FR)
SS: Miles Taylor (JR), Anthony Gair (SR)
FS: Brandon Snyder (SO), Jake Gervase (SO)
CB: Desmond King (SR), Josh Jackson (SO)

The only changes on defense are injury-related.  Ben Niemann and Greg Mabin were both out injured during spring football, but both are healthy now and are thus restored to their expected starting spots at OLB and CB, respectively. The most interesting battle to watch on defense is at WLB; Aaron Mends has been listed as the starter there for a while, but he'll have to continue to perform well there during fall practice to keep that spot.

Overall, the biggest question mark about the defense appears to be the depth.  Iowa's starters should be pretty salty, but there's a lot of uncertainty among the second team guys.  (On the other hand, there's also a lot of potential among the second team guys -- guys like Jackson, Garbutt, and Hockaday could be the core of the Iowa defense in a few years.) Fingers crossed Iowa's starting defenders can stay relatively healthy this season.

SPECIAL TEAMS

P: Colten Rastetter (RS FR), Migel Recinos (SO)
K: Miguel Recinos (SO), Mick Ellis (SO)
PR: Desmond King (SR), Riley McCarron (SR)
KR: Desmond King (SR), Riley McCarron (SR)
LS: Tyler Kluver (JR), Jackson Subbert (RS FR)
H: Tyler Wiegers (SO)

No changes here.  You'll have to go elsewhere for your red hot long snapper controversies.