Kirk Ferentz is not known for having a penchant to play true freshman, but he has when necessary, or when a player earned it. Last year 3 true freshman saw the field: Brandon Wegher, Keenan Davis, and Micah Hyde. Wegher, obviously had a big impact rushing for 641 yards and a true freshman record 8 touchdowns. Looking forward to 2010 I see a similar year with only a small handful of true freshmen getting any playing time.

The Hawkeyes return 8 starters on defense, 7 on offense (I'm counting Stanzi, Morse, Robinson/Wegher, DJK, McNutt, Reiff, and Vandervelde), and both kickers. That does not leave a lot of room, at least in the starting lineup, for new players. Backup spots can be won by freshman though, especially along the offensive line and at linebacker. There is also a lack of experienced depth at tight end and safety.

The Impacters: incoming freshman with the greatest chance of seeing meaningful playing time
  • C.J. Fiedorowicz | TE - Fiedorowicz is a wide receiver in a tight end body. In the past 2 years he caught 26 TDs in just 21 games. I think he'll be used as the 2nd or 3rd TE in the redzone and obvious passing situations. Stanzi is going to love having a 6'7" target on short yardage downs.
  • James Morris | LB - I think a linebacker has a chance to see some playing time next year with the Edds and Angerer both graduating. Morris is as good as any and lit up Iowa 2A football the past couple of years. I see a possibility of special teams play too.
  • Andrew Donnal | OL - There will be quite a few open spots on the depth chart along the offensive line and Donnal could win a backup tackle spot. Iowa doesn't play its backups too often on the OL, but maybe in a blowout or if there is an injury, Donnal sees some time.
The Maybes: incoming freshman with the a slight chance of playing
  • Jim Poggi & Christian Kirksy | LB - As mentioned with Morris, there is a shot that a freshman linebacker will see the field this year.
  • Carl Davis | DT - Davis already has the body to play defensive tackle. The Hawkeyes didn't really have much of a rotation on the d-line at all last year, but Davis could see his name end up on the depth chart.
  • Tanner Miller, Don Shumpert, & Anthony Hitches | S - Safety has possibly the least amount of depth of any position. With the Cato transferring there is no really anyone behind Sash and Greenwood (who are both missing spring practice with injuries).
  • B.J. Lowery | CB - Amari Spievy's early departure opens the door a little bit at cornerback. I doubt Lowery would see much time, but might be used kind of like Micah Hyde was this past year.
The Red-Shirters: incoming freshman with the almost no chance of playing
  • Marcus Coker & DeAndre Johnson | RB - Both Coker and Johnson are fantastic backs and I think they will be good players later in their careers. Next year, though, there is a stable full of experienced and talented running backs in front of the freshmen.
  • A.J. Derby | QB - Derby will use 2010 to work on his game while Stanzi leads the team. Derby has a good shot at being the QB a few years down the road.
  • Kevonte Martin-Manley | WR - Like the RBs, there is just no room at wide receiver this year. Martin-Manley will need to wait a year or two.
  • Louis Trinca-Pasat, Mike Hardy, Anthony Ferguson, & Donovan Johnson | DL - As mentioned before, the d-line doesn't use much of a rotation and with 3 senior starters the line is already set. Next year however, all 4 of these players will be competing for playing time.
  • Austin Gray | LB - I would have lumped Gray with the other LBs in the "maybes" but he's coming off of an injury (torn ACL).
  • Brandon Scherff | OL -Scherff played all over the field in high school (QB, TE, DE) so doesn't have a lot of experience as an offensive lineman. He'll need to learn the position well before he sees any time.
  • Austin Vier | QB - Vier is coming in as a QB but probably won't stay at that position for long. He's a good athlete but just doesn't have the skills to be a Big Ten quarterback. Wherever he ends up he'll need to learn the position and that will take time.
I know last year, Ferentz tried to keep his true freshman on the down-low and didn't list them on the depth chart until after the first week. So we probably won't know who will have an impact until we actually see them on the field.