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Three Days Until Iowa Football: Keith Duncan and Tyrone Tracy Jr.

Can the hero from 2017’s Michigan game get his job back?

Michigan v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

We got a couple of potential big point-scorers below!

Keith Duncan—Junior

Weddington, NC (Weddington)

5’10”, 180 lbs.

2019 Projection: Starting Kicker (?)

Tyrone Tracy Jr—RS Freshman

Indianapolis, IN (Decatur Central)

5’11”, 200 lbs.

2019 Projection: Reserve Wide Receiver

Keith Duncan probably didn’t imagine things going this way. After walking-on to the team in 2016 he knew he had his work cut out for him against the somewhat-incumbent Miguel Recinos for Iowa’s kicking job.

Recinos found himself hobbled with a hamstring injury all season long, opening the door for Duncan. And for that, we have this to thank him for:

Duncan went 9-11 in 2016, while hitting 38 of his 39 PATs. The above, of course, being his most memorable kick.

And he was never heard from again.

Recinos won back and held on to the kicking job in 2017 & ‘18, forcing Duncan to redshirt in 2017 and wait until his spot at the table cleared back up.

And yet, he still might have to wait. There’s a big fat OR between Duncan and Caleb Shudak on Iowa’s most recent depth chart, and when pressed on the matter at yesterday’s media availability, Kirk Ferentz made it sound like he’s gonna flip a coin when it comes time to kick a field goal on Saturday:

They’re both really doing a good job. They both competed. It’s been neck and neck. And I looked at the stats the other day, you can almost flip a coin. So it might be fair to say we’ll let both guys play and see what happens. And they both did a good job this morning in practice, which is certainly encouraging. Caleb will be kicking off, though, I will go out on a limb and say that one.

Does the fact Shudak is in charge of kickoffs give him an edge? Maybe. Punter Ron Coluzzi handled kickoffs for Iowa in 2016, not Duncan, so maybe there’s just not enough oomph in his leg to Kirk’s liking.

It is worth noting that Shudak got one attempt to kick a PAT last year while Iowa was pantsing Illinois, and it is eyebrow-raising that we haven’t seen Duncan since 2016, but no matter how kicking shakes out this year, we’ll always have that Michigan game.

In regards to Tracy, there’s a decent chance he becomes Iowa’s starting slot receiver, depending on what happens to Oliver Martin and how things pan out for Nico Ragaini.

Tracy started spring ball behind Ragaini in the slot, but Iowa has shaken up how it presents its depth chart, for some reason, and now he’s No. 2 behind Brandon Smith, without a slot position listed.

Tracy took advantage of the new NCAA redshirt rule last year and played in four games, notching one catch for 22 yards against Northern Iowa... and that’s it, aside a rush for negative yards against Northwestern. He also played against Purdue and Mississippi State, but didn’t accumulate any stats.

A three-star recruit out of Indy, Tracy’s best offer came from Iowa, and he made a good decision as he’ll have the opportunity to be an important piece of Iowa’s offense if not this year, down the road. He played running back in high school, so you know he’s dynamic with the ball in his hands.

By most accounts, it seems like Ragaini has locked down the slot for now. But that could change in the blink of an eye since he’ll be on a short leash as he’s also a redshirt freshman. And who knows what Iowa is going to do with its receivers if Oliver Martin is deemed eligible to play this season.