Next up in our countdown to the start of Iowa football is a player who was one of the jewels of his recruiting class who could be in line for a breakout season in 2020. The #85 Iowa jersey hasn’t produced many star players in years past, at least at the college level. George Kittle is by far the most famous former Hawkeye associated with #85, but since the talented tight end wore #46 in college, we’ll highlight a defensive player in linebacker Dean Moore, the team MVP of the 1977 season who had a monster game in Iowa’s upset of 11th-ranked Penn State in 1976.
85 is a strange number for a defensive player to wear, but this next Hawkeye will hope to leave a similar legacy of success before his time in Iowa City come to an end.
Logan Lee (RS FR)
Orion, IL (Orion HS)
6’5”, 270 lbs
2020 Projection: Backup defensive lineman
Logan Lee was one of the most exciting pickups from Iowa’s 2019 recruiting class. A star on both sides of the ball, Lee excelled as a tight end and defensive end at Illinois’ Orion High, earning unanimous All-Conference honors at both positions as a sophomore, junior, and senior. Lee finished his career as his school’s all-time sack leader, but also excelled on the wrestling mat, where he won two state championships during his high school career.
Lee was heavily recruited as a tight end and turned down offers from Big Ten rivals like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota to commit to the Hawkeyes. However, with talented recruits like Sam LaPorta and Josiah Miamen already set to play tight end for the black and gold, Lee opted to move to the defensive line, an area ravaged by attrition after losing four starters from the 2018 squad and likely to lose three more after 2019. Lee was originally slotted to slide into his old position of defensive end but moved inside partway through camp.
Lee took a redshirt season to bulk up and adjust to his new role (he’s currently listed at 270 lbs, up considerably from his high school playing weight of 240) and is poised to break into the rotation as a redshirt freshman. The transfer of former NIU standout Jack Heflin makes it unlikely that Lee will start on the interior this season, but his ability to line up anywhere along the defensive line will give him a shot to be a major contributor for a unit trying desperately to replace the disruptive force that was AJ Epenesa. Lee earned Scout Team Player of the Week honors several times last year, and while there is a huge gap between playing on the scout team and lining up in the trenches against the likes of Wisconsin and Ohio State, Lee’s success in the role highlights his potential.
The sky is the limit for Lee at Iowa, and the 2020 season will give Hawkeye fans their first glimpse at what the talented freshman can do. Logan Lee may not fulfill his original destiny as Iowa’s next TJ Hockenson, but there’s no reason he can’t be Iowa’s next AJ Epenesa or Anthony Nelson instead.