A redshirt sophomore from Michigan and a walk on true freshman from the Hawkeye state are on deck as we continue our daily countdown to the return of Iowa football.
Kaevon Merriweather, RS Sophomore
Belleville, MI (Belleville)
6’2”, 205 lbs
2020 Projection: Backup Free Safety
Kaevon Merriweather will be one of the more interesting story lines to follow in 2020. The Belleville, Michigan product came to Iowa relatively unherralded. He held division 1 basketball offers and very little interest on the football recruiting trail. Enter: Phil Parker.
Merriweather became the Parker Special in the class of 2018 and earned playing time right away. He played in 9 games as a true freshman, recording just one tackle but contributing on special teams with a clear path to a role at safety down the line.
Entering 2019, that’s exactly what Hawkeye fans expected of him. With Amani Hooker in the NFL, it looked like a tandem of Merriweather and Geno Stone would be wreaking havoc on Big Ten offenses for two seasons. But alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Merriweather and Stone did start the year as the safety tandem for Parker, but Merriweather was injured entering week two and Jack Koerner proceeded to Wally Pipp him.
Now, Stone has left early for the NFL and it remains to be seen if Merriweather can play alongside a returning Koerner or if he’ll be rendered to a backup role yet again.
If the offseason has been any indication, it would seem Merriweather is destined for a big role on this team. Agree with his views or not, the RS sophomore made waves in the spring when he spoke out on players potentially kneeling for the national anthem. He’s seemingly stepped into a leadership role on the defense, speaking to media alongside Kirk Ferentz.
Will that translate to the field? We’ll see soon enough. But as tnels20 has pointed out, we’ve seen flashes of what attracted Phil Parker to the basketball star. Now we need to see that consistently in the back end of Iowa’s defense.
Jamison Heinz, True Freshman
Humboldt, IA (Humboldt)
6’0”, 200 lbs
2020 Projection: Redshirt
Jamison Heinz is a totally different story than Merriweather. The Humboldt native is entering his first year with the Iowa program, rather than his third. And unlike Merriweather, Heinz is paying his own way as a walk on.
The true freshman is listed as a receiver on Iowa’s official roster, but he also has the ability to play some defensive back. Look for him to spend this season as a redshirt developing and finding a role on this team in years 3-5 in the program.