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67 Days Until Hawkeye Football: Gennings Dunker

Can human road grader Gennings Dunker earn a starting role on Iowa’s offensive line this season?

Syndication: HawkCentral Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

The countdown to the kickoff of Iowa’s 2023 football campaign continues with a look a young offensive lineman who is hoping this season can either be his breakout campaign or a springboard to a strong junior year.

Gennings Dunker (So.)

6’5”, 320 lbs.

Lena, IL (Lena-Winslow)

2023 projection: Backup offensive guard

Gennings Dunker may hail from Illinois where he earned All-State honors as a high school football player, but the rising sophomore seems tailor-made to play on the Iowa offensive line. Truly, could a mustachioed ginger who drinks 14 protein shakes a day, is a former wrestler, tosses hay bales twelve-and-a-half feet in the air, and has the last name “Dunker” have played anywhere else? Dunker was somewhat raw when he arrived in Iowa City after missing his senior season high school due to the COVID-19 pandemic and suffering an injury during his redshirt season, but he quickly caught the eye of the coaches thanks to his toughness and physicality, particularly as a run blocker. As a freshman, Dunker saw action in all eleven games in which he was healthy and even managed to earn a starting spot in Iowa’s Music City Bowl victory over Kentucky.

In some ways, Dunker played like a freshman last season, drawing the occasional ill-timed penalty or missed block one might expect to see from a nineteen-year-old playing offensive line in the Big Ten. At other times, however, Dunker looked like an absolute specimen and jumped off the screen due to his strength and tenacity in the run game. Dunker’s weight room exploits have already drawn rave reviews (after watching a bowl practice at Iowa, Erick All singled out the then-freshman as “a monster,” “a beast,” and “definitely special,” due to his impressive workouts), and his 6’5”, 320 lb. frame makes him as intriguing a prospect as he is an imposing one. His improvement between the start of his freshman year and the Music City Bowl was evident, and a strong performance in the bowl game has set Dunker up to contend for more playing time in 2023.

Still, Dunker’s 2023 prospects may have as much variance as any offensive lineman on the team. A strong Fall camp from Dunker could see him push for a starting job at right guard, possibly resulting in transfer Rusty Feth moving to center instead of manning that spot himself. However, Dunker could also risk falling behind Feth, fellow sophomore Beau Stephens, and juniors Connor Colby and Tyler Elsbury, which could result in him seeing his minutes decrease from last season. Regardless of what happens this year, however, Dunker appears to be on track to be a real contributor to the Iowa offensive line sooner rather than later.