In the dead of what is shaping up to be a punishing Iowa winter, Hawkeye fans are desperate for some good news. We all expected to learn who the new offensive coordinator replacing Brian Ferentz would be by mid-January. We do not.
But instead, Hawkeye fans and whoever that new OC may be all got some great news on Saturday as former 5-star prospect and starting Alabama left tackle Kadyn Proctor announced he was returning to his home state to play for the program he originally committed to back in mid-2022.
Proctor, who is still the highest rated prospect to ever come out of the state of Iowa, was committed to the Hawkeye’s for several months back in 2022 before ultimately spurning the home state school for Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide the week before signing day. While Iowa fans were clearly upset, with some taking to social media to voice their displeasure (yet another reminder to never tweet at recruits), the Hawkeye staff seemed determined to keep the relationship they had built intact.
Even when things got off to a bumpy start as the Southeast Polk product became one of only a few true freshman to start at left tackle for Nick Saban, the staff seemed to go out of their way to publicly back Proctor and keep the relationship intact.
False, he’s young. He’s gonna be a stud. Also playing against some pretty good competition on the other side. 1.5 games into his career. He will be more than fine. https://t.co/zCua5rFGhi— Tyler Barnes (@TylerBarnesIOWA) September 10, 2023
That seems to have played a role in Proctor’s decision to return home to Iowa for his final three seasons of eligibility. After the rumors started swirling earlier in the week with fans taking to the student directory as the days ticked past, things seemed to be all but confirmed on Friday. Saturday morning we got the official word
Proctor then made his first public appearance since enrolling at Iowa when the Hawkeye men played host to the #2 Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon. He was tracked down for his thoughts on coming back to Iowa and took the chance to reiterate the importance of those relationships with coaches like recruiting coordinator Tyler Barnes and offensive line coach George Barnett.
At 6’7” and 360 pounds, Proctor becomes a plug and play starter for Iowa at left tackle. He started all 13 games for Alabama in that role as a true freshman and helped to anchor an offensive line that won the SEC Championship and made the College Football Playoff.
While he did take some time to acclimate, he improved as the season went on and the speed of those edge rushers in the SEC became the norm as opposed to a shock after playing prep ball just a year ago. His year culminated with the highest grade of any offensive lineman during conference championship week as he allowed just one pressure on 30 pass blocking reps against Georgia in the SEC title game, earning a grade of 78.3.
Highest graded OL from Conference Championship Week:— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 4, 2023
Kadyn Proctor, Alabama pic.twitter.com/pFrBaIVPpu
That impressive performance helped Proctor earn All-Freshman honors in the SEC this year.
According to his Alabama profile, he logged 20 pancake blocks on the season. PFF credits Proctor with 811 snaps played for the Bama offense this year out of 911 possible with an overall grade of 66.3. He was named SEC Freshman of the week against Auburn.
Now, Proctor is poised to take Mason Richman’s spot at left tackle for 2024.
What does that mean for the Hawkeyes? In all likelihood, that pushes Richman to the right side and moves Gennings Dunker into his natural position at guard. However, it’s possible we see Richman be the one to move inside. Either way, it means a massive upgrade at LT helping to hopefully keep QB Cade McNamara upright and healthy.
That would be a major sigh of relief for Hawkeye fans and whoever that new offensive coordinator will be. Iowa, however, remains over the scholarship limit after getting several super seniors back, as well as TE Luke Lachey. The Hawkeyes will now enter spring practice with an anchor up front and needing to see some attrition before the freshmen arrive this summer.
Welcome home Kadyn Proctor!