Welcome back to our countdown of the Iowa Hawkeyes football season. Our next:
Lukas Van Ness - RS Freshman
Barrington, IL (Barrington)
6’5”, 259 lbs
2021 Projection: Reserve defensive end
Van Ness was a 3-star defensive end in the class of 2020 with offers from the classic combination of service academies, Ivy League schools, and regional power five teams (Minnesota, Kansas State, Kansas), according to 247sports.
He sat out 2020 redshirting after being named his conference’s defensive player of the year in 2019. He is a former prep hockey player, which feels like a first for a Hawkeye even though it probably isn’t.
His high school tape shows someone who was bigger, faster, and stronger than many offensive linemen he went against. Now I’m imagining his frame on skates, a horrifying hypothetical.
Anyways, he gained nearly 30 pounds in his redshirt season. That weight went to good use as he appears to be sliding inside, performing well according to Scott Dochterman on the second line as others were injured. He was not listed on the spring depth chart.
If his positional future is defensive tackle, 2021 might be a season or two early as he is well below the weight of many Big Ten defensive tackles. But the impression made in spring practice while others were out was a very positive step forward for Van Ness.