We’re less than three weeks from Hawkeye football. With fall camp kicking off, media day and kids day over the weekend and the NFL preseason in full swing, we can nearly taste the season.
Today, we continue the countdown with a talented defensive back from Indianapolis - #20 Julius Brents.
Julius Brents — Sophomore
Indianapolis, IN (Warren Central)
6’3”, 203 lbs
2019 Projection: Backup CB
The Hawkeyes have a lengthy history of developing defensive backs into NFL draft picks. They are continuing to develop recruiting pipeline into the Indianapolis area. Sophomore to-be Julius Brents is the intersection of those two trends.
The second year Brents is an Indianapolis product out of Warren Central, who came to Iowa City with a lot of pedigree. He was a 4-star recruit according to most services thanks to great length for a corner at 6’3” to go with really nice cover skills.
That combination earned Brents playing time as a true freshman. Lots of playing time. Brents played in 11 of Iowa’s 13 games last season and earned 4 starts. He finished the year with 13 tackles (8 solo), 3 passes broken up and an interception against Minnesota.
During that stretch of four games where Iowa started two true freshmen at corner, it was Riley Moss, not Brents, who was often targeted. That shouldn’t be taken as a knock on Moss. He has some work to do, but by all accounts he was a terrific player as a true freshman.
However, Brents is the better natural athlete with that incredible length. That’s earned him a spot on the two-deeps again this season. It’s not outside the realm of possibility we see Ju-Ju once again find his way into a starting role this year either through injury or his continued progression.
With the transition to more of a 4-2-5 base look, Phil Parker has more options for getting his many talented defensive backs on the field. While Brents isn’t likely to move into the “cash” position, starter Michael Ojemudia has gotten some run there. If Brents continues to push for playing time at corner, we could see OJ slide inside more frequently.
Looking beyond 2019, the sky appears to be the limit for the Indianapolis native. His length is a defensive coordinator’s dream at corner. And we all know Parker is going to teach him great technique.
Talent, technique and early experience sound a lot like a recipe for another Iowa defensive back in the NFL.