Next up on our countdown to the start of Iowa football season is one of Iowa’s many walk-on success stories who hopes to retain the starting job he earned last year at offensive guard. This player shares #64 with another great interior lineman Dave Haight, who was a standout on the defensive side of the ball. Haight is one of the best defensive tackles in program history having been named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in 1987, made two All-American teams, and become one of only nine Hawkeyes to earn first team All-Big Ten honors three times.
Kyler Schott (JR)
Coggan, IA (North Linn)
6’2”, 290 lbs.
2020 Projection: Starting/rotational offensive guard
Like many future Hawkeye standouts, Kyler Schott was an under-the-radar recruit before moving to Iowa City. Despite winning his district’s MVP award, being named first-team All-State as a senior, and making three first-team All-District teams, Schott received virtually no attention from college football programs. Schott’s guardian angel: Reese Morgan, Iowa’s venerated former assistant coach who saw something in the former wrestler and gave him an opportunity to join the team as a walk-on.
Schott redshirted in 2017 and saw action in only one game in 2018, but emerged as a talk of camp in 2019. After an injury to starting left tackle Alaric Jackson forced shifts along the offensive line, the sophomore who his teammates call “Shooter” was inserted into the lineup and performed well enough to earn a starting slot at right guard the following week, the position where he started six of his eight games last season. Schott stood out for his physical blocking on the interior and proved capable of absolutely mauling people in the running game.
The biggest validation of Schott’s importance to the offensive line might have ironically occurred during the games he missed due to injury. The Iowa line was ravaged by the Michigan and Penn State pass rushes in Schott’s absence, and the Hawkeyes failed to generate much production on the ground against these stout interior defenses. Iowa’s blocking struggles went well beyond Schott’s absence, but Iowa fans certainly appreciated him when he returned to the field in November.
Schott’s starting spot is hardly guaranteed this year, as he will have to compete against fifth-year senior Cole Banwart and talented freshman Justin Britt, as well as the loser of the battle at tackle between Mark Kallenberger and Coy Cronk. However, Schott proved his worth last season and, scholarship in hand, he should have a secure role in Iowa’s offensive line rotation in 2020.