Welcome to week four of Iowa Football Stock Watch! I’m still recovering from lost sleep after that 7+ hour slog of a game so bear with me. Unlike most of you central time zone folks who got to go bed at a lovely 1:50am, I reside in South Bend meaning I went to bed at 2:50 only to wake up at 3:45 to go mow greens a golf course and have all four hours to think to myself weather (see what I did there) Iowa football is actually worth it this year. To which I say........Maybe?
Just kidding it’s always worth it folks, and to those of you who stayed the entire game Saturday a big salute to you and your fandom.
This weeks Stock Watch has many familiar faces which will continue to pop up throughout the year. It is also the first week I give the offense a break from being in the Stock Down category as even though they weren't spectacular and Nevada’s defense is as effective as my diet at the moment, they mustered up some success. After reading this weeks article, I would love for you the reader to throw your past Hawkeye comparisons to these players in the comments section. Enjoy.
Ticker Symbol: (RB1?)
Oh my god a player from the offense made the stock risers list. The freshman back who JPinIC has been clamoring for all season showed out against the Wolf Pack. Johnson carried the ball 7 times for 103 yards and two scores and proved that is one of the few explosive elements of the offense. Both TD’s were long runs with the first being 45 yards which saw Johnson make a nice cut up field then barrel over a tackler before breaking away. The second run saw great blocking from the line with Johnson gliding away into the end zone untouched. If the o line continues to struggle this year, Johnson’s ability to break a long run may be the running games only saving grace. Here’s hoping we get to see tote the rock more often.
Ticker Symbol: (SWISS AK)
I might as well copy and paste this kids name onto every stock watch moving forward. Dejean is relentless. Saturday saw the freshmen record his second interception of the season as well as miss a golden opportunity to house another int early in the game. Couple that effort with two tackles and he may be playing himself onto the Big Ten first team defense. I would love to know who you guys think is a past Hawkeye comparison to Dejean if there is any.
Lukas Van Ness
Ticker Symbol: (HULK)
Another underclassmen who is going to join the copy and paste club for this article, “Hulk” had another great game. After finding different ways to impact the first two games, Van Ness opened his 2022 sack account against Nevada tallying 1.5 for the night. He added another TFL as he totaled 8 tackles for the game. It’s incredible to watch LVN’s raw power on display. He constantly knocks offensive linemen backwards to where even if he doesn’t get to the quarterback, there’s going to be an O linemen in his face when he does throw the ball. I continue to compare Lukas to Matt Roth. He doesn't have the crazy eyes that Roth had, but man if the Hawkeyes have a sophomore bringing back memories of Matt Roth, then Phil Parker has another future All-American on his hands.
Ticker Symbol: (MVP)
My friend Brent Stuekerjuergen (jesus what a small town Iowa name) had mentioned week one that I forgot to throw Tory Taylor on this list. I told him “he can’t be on this list of stock risers because how can perfection rise?” Well, after leaving him off last weeks article I received another call to add him to the list so I’m giving the people what they want.
After another fantastic performance which saw Taylor punt 7 times for 327 yards and a 46.7 yard average, the Aussie is now averaging 48.3 yards for the season. He has also dropped 13 of those punts inside the 20 yard line making an already difficult task for opposing offenses a nearly impossible one. It goes without saying that the Hawkeye’s are going to need Taylor to keep up his near perfection with a road games in 3 of the next 4 weeks plus a visit from Michigan. Tory has proven he’s up for the task.
Ticker Symbol: (RKT LEG)
Iowa has a kicker folks. The freshmen from North Carolina got his shot on Saturday and seized it. Stevens, who had previously been only on kickoff, confidently connected from 33 and 43 yards on the day. I had mentioned in the BHGP group chat after kids day that even though both Stevens and Blom had each been perfect during that practice I had noticed something in their interviews. While Blom talked mainly about how he was going to improve from past performances last spring, Stevens talked about anything and everything else not related to kicking. Thats the makings of a stone cold kicker. Boom seems like a nice guy but as a kicker, you never dwell on a past miss. The only thing that should ever be going through your head is wind direction because that is the only variable that a kicker knows will have a direct impact on whether the ball is going to split the pipes or not. This mind set shows up in a kickers game by how aggressive they are in attacking the football. In both of Drew’s kicks he drove the football straight through. They weren’t flipped up and over the crossbar, they were attacked. Will the kid miss a few this year? Sure he will. But with Stevens, I’m confident that he won’t be dwelling on it going into his next kick.
Ticker Symbol: (WET)
Of course the game where the Hawkeyes finally show a flicker of life on offense, mother nature had to douse the flame. Three lightning delays forcing this game to run for 7 hours seems all to fitting for the start of this odd season. I must admit that I fell asleep several times on the night and was shocked that the teams kept reemerging from the locker room. Maybe this was some form of test. A test meant to try both fan and player fortitude. Not that the prior two weeks hadn't already done that but I’m interested to see if this truly could be a turning point for this team. With that said, heres hoping the rest of the season has perfect weather.