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56 Days Until Hawkeye Football: Nick DeJong

Nick DeJong is the latest in a long line of former walk-ons to emerge as a key contributor for the Hawkeyes.

NCAA Football: Iowa at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Next up on the countdown to the start of the 2022 Iowa football season, we profile the latest in a long line of former Hawkeyes to go from walk-on to significant contributor.

Nick DeJong – RS Junior

Pell, IA (Pella HS)

6’6”, 300 lbs.

2022 Projection: backup offensive tackle

Like many tackles to come through Iowa during the Ferentz era, Nick DeJong spent his high school career not as an offensive lineman, but as a tight end. A three-year letterman from Pella High School, DeJong earned first-team All-State honors as a senior and helped lead his team to a career 32-4 prep record. Despite having scholarship offers from several FCS schools and the Air Force Academy, DeJong opted to stay in-state and join the Hawkeyes as a walk-on in 2019.

DeJong saw action in only one game during his redshirt season in 2019 and got limited run in seven games during 2020. However, the unexpected retirement of starting offensive tackle Mark Kallenberger and an unfortunate injury to Cody Ince created an opening for DeJong to compete for more significant playing time in 2021. After earning a scholarship in the spring, DeJong went on to start nine games last season, primarily at right tackle. While the duo of Jack Plumb and Mason Richman eventually supplanted him as the starting tackles, DeJong continued to play a significant role in Iowa’s offensive line rotation through the rest of the season. Whether DeJong is able to edge out one of the current starters at tackle, shifts over to guard, or ends up solidifying himself as a backup, expect him to play a key rotational role for the Hawkeyes in 2022.