Less than two weeks from the first game of the 2019 season and the Iowa Hawkeyes have been handed some bad news. After rumblings last week that redshirt freshman linebacker Jayden McDonald May be on the move, things picked up steam with reports he had entered the transfer portal.
Last night, those reports were confirmed as McDonald announced via Twitter that he intends to transfer to Troy.
It’s not a critical loss for the Hawkeyes as McDonald was not listed on the most recent depth chart. However, he did bring speed and athleticism to the linebacker group and as mentioned in our countdown to kickoff, he figured to be a key contributor on special teams this season.
Unfortunately, with the shift from the traditional 4-3 defense to a 4-2-5 base look, the opportunities for linebackers to see the field outside of special teams are limited. With sophomore Djimon Colbert now an entrenched starter, there’s really only one potential starting spot open for 2020 and beyond. With fellow redshirt freshman Dillon Doyle listed as the backup for senior Kristian Welch, McDonald likely saw a difficult path to substantial minutes.
His departure leaves Iowa with 10 total linebackers after senior Amani Jones showed up on the depth chart as a defensive end. The room includes the aforementioned Welch and Colbert as starters, as well as junior Barrington Wade who would be the third linebacker in a 4-3 look. Behind them are RS freshman Doyle and junior Nick Niemann. With two other RS freshmen and a trio of true freshman looking for minutes, it’s possible we could see further attrition in this group down the road.
Best of luck to Jayden McDonald at Troy.