The Iowa Hawkeyes have done some quietly impressive work in the transfer portal this offseason. While the perennial blue bloods, or Deion Sanders’ Colorado, have naturally attracted the highest profile targets, Kirk Ferentz has warmed to the plug and play opportunities the portal can offer. Michigan transfer Cade McNamara, his teammate Erick All, and Ohio State wide receiver Kaleb Brown have rightfully drawn headlines and sparked enthusiasm for an offense desperately in need of some juice. But Kirk and Co. haven’t neglected the position group that allows those other pieces to execute at the highest level.
Allow me to introduce you to:
Daijon Parker, Senior
6’5”, 300 lbs.
Inkster, MI - Westland John Glenn (Graduate transfer from Saginaw Valley State)
2023 projection: Starting left/right tackle
Here’s a newsflash for you: Iowa’s offense in 2022 was...not great. Quarterback and offensive coordinator were easy targets for criticism, some of it rightly deserved, but the offensive line did those other pieces no favors on many occasions. With a unit boasting little experience defenses were a common sight in Iowa’s backfield and after star recruit Kadyn Proctor flipped to Alabama at the 11th hour before signing day, George Barnett needed some good news in 2023.
Enter Daijon Parker.
On January 7, after a trip to Iowa City, the grad transfer from Division II Saginaw Valley State announced his commitment to the Hawkeyes, flipping from Virginia and also holding offers from the likes of Washington State, Western Michigan, and Miami (OH). Parker arrived at Saginaw Valley State in 2018 but it took a while for him to see any action. He redshirted his first season and an injury kept him off the field in 2019. Covid cancelled the entirety of SVSU’s 2020 campaign so it wasn’t until 2021 that Parker got his moment. But he made it worth the wait.
In 2021 Daijon appeared in ten games and eleven games in 2022, helping his team to a third place conference ranking in total offense and an 8-3 record. The transition will be an adjustment, it’s a good leap from DII to the FBS. But looking at his play from last year Parker more than held up against defenders.
Daijon will add much needed experience and talent to Iowa’s offensive line. At the absolute least he’ll be an important depth piece, with a starting role more likely.