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92 Days Until Hawkeye Football: John Waggoner

The redshirt sophomore will need to step up after A.J. Epenesa’s departure

NCAA Football: Purdue at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Our next Hawkeye had a quiet first two seasons after an interesting recruitment!

For our installment on a history of this number, the totally underrated Kenny Iwebema factored into two plays during “The Stand.”

Still insane watching that whole thing back!

John Waggoner – RS Sophomore
West Des Moines, IA (Dowling Catholic)
6’5”, 274 lbs
2020 Projection: Rotational defensive end

Waggoner’s recruitment to Iowa was not as foregone a conclusion as one might expect from the #1 prospect in the state. The Hawkeyes were the second to offer, following Iowa State, before his junior year of high school. After performing well that season, a number of other schools jumped into the fray – 247sports detailed offers from a number teams, including blue bloods Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan, and Penn State.

He committed in December 2017 to join a deep defensive line as Daviyon Nixon (again), Noah Shannon, and Tyler Linderbaum were also a part of his class. With some weight to gain (the linked bio had him at 230), he used to redshirt year to beef up and build a good rapport with teammates.

A.J. Epenesa’s departure to the NFL has opened up the opportunity for roles at end as either a starter or backup lineman. With this being his third year in the system, one would consider this a bit of a “biological clock” year as Marc Morehouse dubbed for Noah Shannon. He tallied a couple tackles and a sack in his redshirt freshman year. With AJE in front of him, that’s okay.

It feels like a broken record, but without the insight of spring ball, there’s no telling whether he’s above, below or in line with fellow end Zach VanValkenburg. As Morehouse writes, both “are classically built Iowa strong ends” so whomever gets the lion’s share of the snaps is probably the guy better suited to stop the run. Either way, as Iowa progresses towards an eight-man line rotation, he should factor in big time.

Time to inject some 3+ year old highlights into your veins!