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Iowa Football Stock Watch: First Half Performers

There are actually some positives on the offense! Really!

Syndication: The Des Moines Register Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

This Hawkeye football season just continues to keep on giving. Whilst writing up this iteration of Stock Watch, I dropped my Mac down the stairs. Never mind how, thats besides the point. JPinIC was kind enough this morning to say “I hope your computers ok.” Now, I am beyond grateful to our fearless leader here at BHGP, but his inquiry into the health of my former Mac, which is certainly in a landfill here in South Bend, made me realize that this season has been playing out under the same misguided premise. “I hope the offense is ok”, can no longer be used as a shield to protect Hawkeye fans from the horrid product, mindlessly tossed out onto the gridiron on Saturdays. Progress must be made starting Saturday. Whether that be in the form of more yards, better efficiency, hell even an attempt to just throw different colored paint at the wall to see if one color compliments this collection of talent better. We’re seemingly doing that anyways without a real purpose behind it, so let’s just embrace the chaos and dive in head first on offense! But I digress. This is Stock Watch after all, and none of you come here for whiney rambling. You want to be presented with the silver linings located within Iowa’s personnel. Let’s take a look then at the pieces that still have the majority of us turning on the TV on Saturdays.

Stock Up:

Sam Laporta

Iowa’s next NFL tight end is leading Big Ten tight ends in receiving yards per game at 46.5 yards a contest. Laporta’s overall stat line includes 30 receptions for 279 yards but, unsurprisingly considering the functionality of the offense, 0 touchdowns. It is such a shame for a talent such as Sam, who may still leave the university as its’ all time leader in receptions, to not get the opportunity to celebrate TD’s with his teammates. This man should be catching 5 TD passes a year on pure talent alone. The play calling for Sam and fellow tight end Luke Lachey over the last two years in the red zone has been so heinous it should it should implicate the conductor of this offense with a felony... But that’s wishful thinking. Seriously though, here’s hoping the last half season of this Hawkeye legends career goes out with as much of a bang as he deserves.

Syndication: HawkCentral Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Kaleb Johnson

Kaleb is interesting because he is definitely one of those young players where, even though the stats may not wow you, your eyes know that they are looking at a load of talent. Johnson on the season has racked up 232 yards and 3 touchdowns on 50 carries which is good for 4.6 yards a pop. The young man has shown plenty of flashes of what his combination of size, decisiveness, and straight line speed can produce. This run in the Nevada game is probably an indicator of what Hawkeye fans can expect for at least the next two seasons.

The above clip features what is called an “explosive play” by the way. Just clarifying that for some of us who have forgot.

Running mate Leshon Williams done a decent job this season as well and just barely missed this list.

Jack Campbell

Breaking news, Campbell leads the Big Ten in tackles with 62. Yes I know that’s not really news, but I’m running out of things to say about a man who, at the end of his career, should in my mind be heavily considered as a top 3 linebacker in the history of Iowa football. My vote would have Campbell alongside Larry Station and Chad Greenway as a top 3. He has incomparable size at the position along with speed comparable to Christian Kirksey and the instincts of Josey Jewell and Pat Angerer. As asinine as it sounds, 8-4 is still on the table for Iowa. If they are able to reach this unlikely feat, you can bet Campbell will have his his fingerprints all over it.

Syndication: HawkCentral
My man is even a Cardinals fan! He’s great!
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

Seth Benson

The senior from South Dakota is playing his best football yet. Benson is currently tied for seventh in the Big Ten in tackles having racked up 51 already through six games. Often overlooked by both the national and local media members, Benson has become another great Hawkeye success story. Another under the radar player from a small midwest town with hardly any offers who hustles their butt off on special teams and yeah you know the drill. Benson deserves a spot on an upper tier All Big Ten Team and he is certainly on his way. Finding ways to spell both he and Campbell at strategic times down the stretch may be Phil Parker and linebackers coach Seth Wallace’s greatest challenge.

Lukas Van Ness

While he only has three sacks through the first half of the season, LVN has been the only reliable source of pressure coming from Iowa’s front four. Joe Evans and a few other hawks can attribute a sack to initial pressure form Van Ness and it will be interesting to see his talents paired next year with an older Aaron Graves, and Deonte Craig. If there is one thing I would love to see more of from Lukas, and honestly the entire defensive line, it would be disruption in the running game. If young Hercules starts to rack up those running game TFLS, his name will arrive on the national stage.

Cooper Dejean

Another Hawkeye defensive back is knocking on the door of DB of the year in the Big Ten. This time, it’s a sophomore. I mentioned Campbells place among the all time great defensive players to wear the Hawkeye uniform earlier in the article, Dejean may just be another. Micah Hyde may be the only other player who could stake a claim as being able to play cornerback, safety, and cash had it been around, and flourish in each role. Dejean, even as a true sophomore, just looks better than most players sharing the field with him. He already has 37 tackles and 3 picks on the year including one ridiculous return for a touchdown. His vast amount of athletic ability has led to a large portion of the fanbase (including this blogger) clamoring for Brian Ferentz to implement some offensive sets for Dejean. Let’s take that one step at a time though.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Quinn Schulte

I’m admitting that I was wrong. I thought Schulte was going to be a weak spot on this years defense. Thus far however, he’s been anything but. Dealing out punishing hits along with being in the right place at the right time, Quinn is another former walk-on who has flourished at Iowa. He’s fourth on the team in tackles with 34 and also has one interception. With the addition of Xavier Nwankpa next. season, the secondary looks like it will be loaded once more.

Kaevon Merriweather

Back to the secondary we go. Kaevon as I have mentioned many times is an incredible leader. His statistical profile has never wowed fans, but he must be given all the credit in the world for standing up at the podium in 2020 to address the racial bias allegations brought against the program. In my mind, his words that day saved the university football program we all love. I will forever count him as a favorite Hawkeye because of that. His season thus far has included 28 total tackles, an interception, and a scoop and score at Rutgers. He wanted to be an All Big Ten performer this season and I think he is on his way to achieving that goal.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Terry Roberts

The man was finally given his chance and has run with it. Roberts, beloved for so many seasons because of his hustle on special teams, has proven to maybe be Iowa’s number one corner. Had he been able to pick off that pass against Iowa. St, he may be getting even more positive vibes from the base. I think however, that dropped interception resulted in the uncovering of why we all love Scary Terry. His twitter post saying “All I had to do was catch it,” was a moment of vulnerability.Iowa fans are not often exposed to honest emotion within this program. I’t usually hidden from us in the locker room and spat out to us in player speak responses. So while Roberts only has 13 tackles and one interception, he deserves to be on this list.

Drew Stevens

Should have been starting since day one. Iowa goes to overtime against Iowa. St with this kid on the field. Stevens missed the first kick of his career against Illinois two Saturdays ago but he’ll bounce back. The North Carolinian is now 6-7 on the season with a long of 51. As a former kicker myself, reading Drew’s body language tells me that Iowa has yet another great kicker on their hands.

Tory Taylor

With each passing week the question “Where would the Hawkeyes be without Tory” rings more and more true. The Aussie is 5th in average yardage at a whopping 46.05! He leads the NCAA in total punting yards as well but i’m not sure hats what we want to be highlighting. Tory Taylor punting the ball has resulted in at least 4 points this season and should be more. Forcing opposing offenses to drive 80+ yards consistently against this defense is a huge factor in the Hawks allowing under 10 points a contest. He’s fallen off in pinning teams inside the ten in the last couple games so here’s hoping that he finds that magic touch again for the second half of the season.

Syndication: HawkCentral
Another great duo of kickers at the University of Iowa
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK


A few of you brought up last week that I not included the coaches in the stock down portion of the article and was ragging on players who were not being put in a position to succeed. Well, you are absolutely right. For that reason I’m not going to throw any players down in this category for performance through the first half. This spot is for Kirk and Brian. My fellow bloggers here at The Pants have done a great job explaining why this is so I won’t repeat their words too much. What I would like to point out however is the arrogance exuded from Brian last week in his press conference. In all of his preseason interviews and all of his pressers this season, it sure seems like he tries to let us as a fanbase know that he is the coach, and we are but pions when it comes to knowing football. He’s right about that, but don’t make us feel that way. Allow us to support you Brian. We know you care about the program as you had previously bled for it in your playing days, show us that passion. and if it really is your dad telling you to keep throwing out this archaic style of football, change it. Because this is what we as a fanbase think of that excuse now.

Just give us a product the rest of the season that is at least enjoyable to look at and maybe gives the fanbase hope for the future of the offense. It needs to happen this week, because like my laptop, there is no hope that this offense will get any better. It’s broken.