As JP mentioned in yesterday’s countdown, we’re moving forward with the assumption the conference games are unchanged which means we’re now 57 days away from the Iowa Hawkeyes’ matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Chauncey Golston - RS Senior
Detroit, MI (East English Village Prep)
6’5”, 272 lbs
2020 Projection: Starting defensive end
The 2016 recruit hails from the same high school as former Hawk, Cedrick Lattimore. He redshirted his first season after selecting Iowa over um... nobody per 247 which makes him another classic Phil Parker find.
After getting very spot duty his redshirt freshman year (he got just two tackles), his role slowly expanded as Iowa’s willingness to rotate along the defensive line ramped up in 2018, which was its own version of a breakout year for the sophomore. He accumulated 35 tackles, nine for loss, and three sacks as the primary backup to Anthony Nelson and designated fumble recoverer opposite AJ Epenesa (he had 3).
His role was a bit of an overhaul his senior year, as he had to become a stalwart lineman and saw his stats stagnate a bit despite the heavy uptick in playing time (47 / 9.5 / 3). He did find ways of making an impact with more responsibility and deflected five passes.
In our defensive end preview, Rob Donaldson highlighted Golston as “the man” and really, he is. He is a very known quantity with, at minimum, a high floor in run coverage who will rarely be out of position and play strong team defense. PFF has him as the returning Hawkeye along the line with the most snaps over his career - 1,198 - which triples Daviyon Nixon’s 366. (For what it’s worth, Jack Heflin accumulated 1,570 over his career at Northern Illinois)
The question for Golston, especially as someone who is poised to get paid on Sundays, is whether he can turn himself into an absolute star of a pass rush end. He’s certainly flashed those capabilities but has largely served as Robin to Epenesa’s Batman (much like Parker Hesse for Nelson). As Rob said, he’s got the “quick twitch movement and burst” and should be enabled to use it more often in the pass game.
Personally, I’m optimistic of Golston turning into this line’s Batman and think there are enough bodies who will enable him to be more full-throttle in getting to the quarterback. He’s certainly laid plenty of groundwork over his time in Iowa City so it’d be great to see him yield the fruits of his labor.