The countdown to kickoff continues with a true freshman from the east coast looking to carve out a role on one of the deepest WR groups Iowa’s ever had.
Diante Vines, Freshman
Danbury, CT (The Taft School)
6’0”, 187 lbs
2020 Projection: Redshirt
Iowa isn’t known for churning out top WR talent, but the position has seen a noticeable tick up in both production and recruiting in recent years. The Hawkeyes threw the ball 48% of the time last season and they did it with quite a bit of success. That was due in part to the fact Iowa had a third-year starting QB and in part because the Hawkeyes had as many weapons at the WR position as they’ve had in more than a decade.
As we turn to 2020, Iowa will be breaking in a new starting QB, but all the weapons on the outside are returning. That includes All-Big Ten return man Ihmir Smith-Marsette, big time target Brandon Smith, the team’s leading pass-catcher Nico Ragaini and perhaps the most versatile of the bunch Tyrone Tracy.
With so much talent returning, it’s hard to see many younger receivers earning a role in Brian Ferentz’s offense in 2020. That doesn’t mean incoming freshman Diante Vines won’t be trying.
Vines comes to Iowa from The Taft School in Connecticut. It’s not an area the Hawkeyes have heavily recruited in the past, but they have had some success in the area including the aforementioned Ragaini and former RB Jordan Canzeri.
As a prep, Vines hauled 48 receptions for 552 yards and 8 receiving touchdowns as a senior, as well as 3 rushing touchdowns, a kickoff return touchdown, and 2 defensive touchdowns (one interception and one fumble return). On film he comps well to Ragaini as a prototypical slot guy in Iowa’s offense, though he does have a touch of Tyrone Tracy to his game.
Those are great attributes for when Vines finds his way onto the field. Unfortunately for the true freshman, with so much returning talent it’s going to be difficult to find many reps in 2020. It’s possible he finds his way onto the field due to injury or in big time blowouts, but the most likely scenario finds Vines playing in up to 4 games and keeping his redshirt intact.
With Smith and ISM both slated to graduate after this season, there will be substantially more playing time available in 2021. Look for Vines to emerge as a contender for reps a year from now in a WR room that is still quite full, but will have a few more openings.