C.J. FiedorowiczThe second tight end spot isn't the most glamorous position on the football field. If you were watching almost any other team in the country, you probably wouldn't ever see the second tight end except maybe in goal-line. But at Iowa it is an important position. Last year, was number two and finished the year with 9 catches for 154 yards. The year before that it was Allen Reisner was 14 catches for 143 yards and a TD. I think you can expect an even greater contribution from the second tight end this year. Currently there is nobody healthy on Iowa's roster with any experience at fullback. Hopefully Brad Rogers will be back, but he still hasn't been cleared to practice after failing a cardio test before the bowl game. With a lack of a solid fullback, the two tight end set may be even more prevalent. Also, there is a major lack of experience at receiver besides , so the pass game might flow be a little more in the direction of the tight ends.
So, the battle for the second tight end will be an important one. Based on the latest pictures and video from spring practice it looks like Fiedorowicz is splitting reps with . However, CJF did get the nod on the depth chart. Last year, both saw limited time on the field. Fiedorowicz did play in all 13 games as a true freshman, though it was mostly on special teams. He had two tackles on coverage teams and actually fielded a short kickoff and returned it 4 yards. Derby only played in 10 games and had just 1 catch for 17 yards.
Though we haven't heard much about how he is progressing, Herman was interviewed a last week before practice last week and had a couple of nice things to say about CJF (applicable part starts around 3:15). "He can be as good as he wants to be. He's got huge upsides." In Coach Ferentz's start of spring presser, he also briefly mentioned Fiedorowicz:
Certainly if you look back at last year, we had some younger players, Marcus Coker, James Morris and Mike Meyer that as true freshmen did a great job. We have a lot of guys on that younger end, guys like C.J. Fiedorowicz, a couple of the receivers, Shumpert, Kevonte Martin-Manley and our linebacker group, got a lot of young players that we're eager to see how they do. Hopefully they'll step forward and do a great job as well.
Way too early prediction:
Fiedorowicz will solidify his spot as the second tight end and see significant playing time in every game. At 6'7" he will be a legitimate threat in the passing game, especially in the redzone. He will finish the season with 22 catches for 225 yards and 2 TDs.
3 Others to WatchDe'Andre Johnson - Johnson redshirted last year as a true freshman but is the only running back on scholarship beside Marcus Coker right now. Coker was phenomenal in the Insight Bowl but will not be able to carry a load like that for an entire season. It will be important for Iowa to have a solid number 2 running back and Johnson seems like the most logical choice right now.
Kevonte Martin-Manley - KMM was singled out on twitter by DJK as a big talent. He also redshirted last year, but will be competing for the third wide receiver position this year.
Don Shumpert - Shumpert will also be competing for that third receiver spot. He actually played last year as a true freshman, but his time was mostly limited to special teams where he had 6 tackles.