Next up on our countdown to the start of the Hawkeye football season is a versatile role player who will be counted on to emerge as a defensive star entering his junior season.
Chauncey Golston- Jr
Detroit, Michigan (East English Village Prep)
6’5”, 270 lbs
2019 Projection: Starting Defensive End
Like many Hawkeyes destined for impactful careers in the black and gold, Chauncey Golston was overlooked as a recruit coming out of Detroit. Overshadowed in the 2016 recruiting class by his high school teammate Cedric Lattimore, Golston was viewed as something of a project who would need a few seasons to grow into his 6’5 frame before being ready to compete. He predictably redshirted during his first year on campus and saw only limited action in 2017.
Golston was one of Iowa’s breakout surprises during his redshirt sophomore season, managing to stand out even amidst one of Iowa’s deepest defensive lines in program history. Despite not starting a single game, Golston finished fourth on the team in both sacks (3.5) and tackles for loss (9). Golston also displayed an excellent motor and a real nose for the football; his three fumble recoveries ranked first in the Big Ten and sixth nationally and were a byproduct of Golston’s habit of always being near the ball and in position to make a play.
Golston’s positional flexibility allowed him to see significant action in 2018 and is a testament to the skill and athleticism that make him a potential impact player heading into 2019. Golston’s long athletic frame, great hand technique, and surprising quickness for his position allowed defensive coordinator Phil Parker to deploy Golston all over the field, from the standard defensive end slot
to a stand-up edge rusher
to a defensive tackle on obvious passing downs.
Both Golston and fellow defensive end AJ Epenesa have shown that they can make plays from any spot along Iowa’s front four, which will give opposing offensive coordinators absolute fits as they try to game plan to stop the two of them in 2019. Epenesa’s notoriety will arguably be Golston’s greatest weapon, allowing him the opportunity to capitalize on plenty of one-on-one matchups while his more highly touted running mate faces regular double-teams. Still, while Epenesa may receive most of the preseason hype, anyone who watched Golston’s performance in the Outback Bowl, which included both an interception and a fumble recovery, knows just how disruptive the rising junior can be.
Iowa has gone from having one of the nation’s deepest defensive lines to possibly relying on as a few as five players who can be expected to make a regular impact next season. Golston will need to build on his strong sophomore season for this unit to continue to thrive in 2019.