I didn’t have time to look through all the stats of the sixty plus players named to the John Mackey Award Watch List this year but I feel pretty confident in saying that not many of them have less career receptions (3) and touchdowns (0) than the current number one on the Hawkeye depth chart.
Nate Wieting – RS Senior
Rockford, IL (Rockford Lutheran)
6’4”, 250 lbs
2019 Projection: Starting TE
While many believe that Shaun Beyer will have the flashier statistics this year, the truth is that for the Hawkeyes to have a successful season they need the running game to be better than last year and that means Wieting will play a big part in the blocking game.
Wieting has been buried on the depth charts since 2015 by some pretty impressive NFL talent in George Kittle, Noah Fant, and TJ Hockenson. While he has played in 29 games during that time, his role has mainly been as a blocker.
Like many of the current freshman and sophomores, Wieting came to Iowa as a walk-on. As a redshirt freshman, he was pressed into service against #3 ranked Michigan when starter Kittle was injured. Wieting helped block and the Hawkeyes upset Michigan 14-13. Unfortunately an injury later in the season knocked Wieting out until the next fall when the injury bug then hit him once again (shoulder) and cost him much of the 2017 season.
Finally healthy in 2018, his path to playing time was blocked by Fant and Hockenson. Much to the chagrin of some Hawkeye fans, Wieting would often replace Fant in the lineup during running plays as the stronger blocker.
With both Fant and Hockenson gone to the NFL, it’s now time to see if Wieting is more than a blocking tight end. He’s received some comparisons to Hockenson but only time will tell if he can become the next Iowa TE in the NFL. Here is Wieting with his thoughts on the comparison to Hockenson.
Whatever his final stats end up being, Wieting is just another example of how this coaching staff can identify talent that they can coach up to become valuable contributors to the team and it’s why there are annually a dozen student athletes willing to forego scholarships at other schools for the chance to walk-on at Iowa.