We are two weeks away from our first actual game week of Iowa football’s 2020 season and with each passing day we get some additional clarity on the season. We have an official schedule for the third time this year and with media availability for both players and coaches over the next few days, we’re likely to have our first official depth chart as well.
Ahead of that media availability, we got news on Monday night that the Hawkeyes are expecting to be playing this season without two returning players on defense. We reported a week ago that starting linebacker Djimon Colbert was expected to opt out of the season after a death in his family due to COVID-19. On Monday, the Hawkeye staff confirmed Colbert is one of two players opting out this season.
The second player joining Colbert in stepping away for the season is RS freshman defensive end Taajhir (TJ) McCall. Below is the full release from the University of Iowa.
IOWA CITY, Iowa - - University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz has confirmed that two Hawkeye student-athletes, Djimon Colbert and Taajhir McCall, have elected to opt out of the 2020 football season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The announcement was made Monday following the completion of required paperwork by each of the student-athletes. Colbert is a junior linebacker from Shawnee, Mission, Kansas, while McCall is a redshirt freshman defensive lineman.
Iowa opens the 2020 season at Purdue. The Hawkeyes host Northwestern in their first home game of the season on the last weekend of October.
While McCall was expected to be a depth player in 2020 with limited impact, Colbert was in line to start again at linebacker for Phil Parker’s defense. As discussed a week ago, Parker will now need to pivot to either an uproven veteran such as Barrington Wade, inexperience youth such as Jack Campbell or Seth Benson, or work in more use of the Cash position manned by Dane Belton a season ago.
You can view a full projection of Iowa’s 2020 depth chart here. We’ll be getting more answers as the week progresses with Kirk Ferentz addressing the media on Thursday via Zoom and a full depth chart expected to be released soon.