The Iowa Hawkeyes would have once seemed like one of the least likely college football programs to embrace the transfer portal as part of their annual recruiting efforts. That has changed dramatically over the last several years. In 2020, however, Iowa appears to be particularly fond of the portal as a way to supplement the depth chart on the heels of early entries into the NFL from Tristan Wirfs, A.J. Epenesa and Geno Stone.
The Hawkeyes have already added graduate transfer offensive lineman Coy Cronk from Indiana to help fill the void left by Wirfs and Northern Illinois defensive tackle Jack Heflin should help supplement the middle of an Iowa defensive line that lost Cedric Lattimore and Brady Reiff to graduation.
Today, Phil Parker’s defense added reinforcements at defensive end as Northern Illinois graduate transfer Matt Lorbeck announced his intention to join the Hawkeyes.
Excited to call Iowa City home for the next year and a half pic.twitter.com/tE0zxuxLJ0— matt (@MattLorbeck) June 22, 2020
Lorbeck is an interesting add for a defense looking to fill the void left by A.J. Epenesa’s early departure for the NFL. He won’t be Epenesa, but Lorbeck brings an edge rush to the table that should be able to help the Hawkeyes in certain situations.
At 6’4” and 255 pounds, Lorbeck is long but a bit on the leaner side for an Iowa defensive lineman. He shows a good ability to use his length and quickness to get off the edge in pass rush situations, but could benefit from some added bulk and work on secondary moves to become more effective against Big Ten offensive tackles.
Lorbeck, who was a high school teammate of Iowa offensive lineman Jack Plumb at Bay Port in Green Bay, was recruited by NIU as a 2-star linebacker with offers largely from FCS programs back in 2017. Last season for Northern Illinois, the now defensive end totaled 32 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 3 forced fumbles and 2 sacks. That was good enough to earn him a spot on Pro Football Focus’s MAC Defensive Team of the Year, alongside the aforementioned Heflin and former Hawkeye Manny Rugamba.
During his three seasons with the Huskies, Lorbeck has amassed 60 tackles, 12 TFL, 5.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. He also racked up 4 total tackles in Northern Illinois’ 2018 trip to Kinnick Stadium.
While Lorbeck was only in DeKalb for three seasons, he will graduate this summer. That makes him immediately eligible for Iowa with a unique opportunity given he has two years to play one. With the NCAA’s relatively new 4-game rule for redshirting, the Hawkeyes have the flexibility to get Lorbeck into 4 games this season and still use him for a full season in 2021.
Welcome aboard Matt Lorbeck!