The final shoe of Iowa’s NFL hopefuls has dropped. Sophomore tight end TJ Hockenson will forego his final years in Iowa City in order to go and get paid for his talents.
It has been an honor to wear the black and gold! #kirksdawgs pic.twitter.com/vV44H1VqP8— TJ Hockenson (@TheeHOCK8) January 14, 2019
Hockenson led Iowa in yards and receptions this year, with 49 grabs for 760 yards and 6 touchdowns. Only fellow tight end and NFL-enrollee Noah Fant had more touchdowns than Hockenson with 7. The University also confirmed Hockenson’s departure this morning via email.
While many thought this would be the year for Fant to break records and rack up awards, it was actually Hockenson who exceeded, winning the Mackey Award, garnering first-team all-conference honors, and just enjoyed arguably the best season of any tight end at Iowa.
Hockenson doubled his production this year compared to last, but it’s not that surprising. He, like Amani Hooker, had a coming out party of sorts against Ohio State last year, where he racked up 5 catches for 71 yards and 2 touchdowns.
My favorite stat about Hockenson? He was sixth in the entire nation on third-down receiving yards, with 361 yards and 2 scores on third down. Of his 17 grabs on third down, 15 went for first downs. That’s really good.
Hockenson is a rare combination of speed, strength and size and will be a valuable weapon to any NFL team that uses him wisely. He now joins the aforementioned Hooker, Anthony Nelson, and fellow tight end Fant as juniors who will try their luck in the NFL.
Best of luck to TJ. Go and get paid. Once a Hawk always a Hawk.