Iowa’s bread and butter has always been its offensive line, and the next player on our countdown to the kickoff of Iowa’s 2021 season has the potential to join the long list of stars who have toiled in the Hawkeye trenches.
Connor Colby- Freshman
Cedar Rapids, IA (Kennedy)
6’6”, 295 lbs
2021 Projection: Redshirt
Colby is one of the best offensive line prospects to come out of the state of Iowa in several years. A consensus four-star recruit according to 247, Colby was behind only David Davidkov in the rankings of Iowa’s 2021 recruiting class and thrilled fans by signing with Iowa over conference blue bloods like Ohio State and Michigan. Colby lived up to these accolades as high school player and twice earned first-team all-state honors while playing at Cedar Rapids Kennedy in addition to being named to the Des Moines Register’s Elite All-State team in 2020.
Colby isn’t likely to see the field much in 2021, as it is exceptionally rare for true freshmen to get much if any playing time along the offensive line under Kirk Ferentz. However, Colby is the type of player who could take advantage of the four-game redshirt rule and work his way on to the field in contests where the outcome is no longer in doubt. Colby saw meaningful action at right tackle during the April 17 spring game and “looked the part” according to one analyst, which is a positive early sign even if he is not expected to compete for a starting job this season.
Once Colby is primed to push for playing time, the biggest question may ultimately be which position he ends up playing. Colby was a tackle at the high school level but is versatile enough to slide inside and play guard as well. Between Colby, Davidkov, and fellow true freshman Beau Stephens, one of the standout tackles from the class of 2021 will need to play guard at the college level if each of them hopes to lock down a starting job. Perhaps Colby will ultimately end up like John Niland, another former Hawkeye lineman who wore #77 and converted from tackle to guard before blossoming as an All-American and moving on to a decorated professional career. A high bar, yes, but what is the offseason for if not frenzied speculation?