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The tight end should get his first game action this fall. Chad Leistikow/HawkCentral.com

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Just when tight end Jon Wisnieski had nearly completed his first year at Iowa, his redshirt year, he tore his ACL.

The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Dowling Catholic product had to start all over again. Now, entering his third year in the program, his wait for playing time is over.

He's one spot off the depth chart, which in Kirk Ferentz's tight-end-friendly system means he'll see the field in the Sept. 5 opener against Illinois State.

"It's a tough process coming back from an injury like that. It's long, it's difficult," Wisnieski said. "But I feel great now. Everything is great with my knee. It's been awesome."

One year after knee surgery, Wisnieski played extensively in the April 25 spring game, with starter Jake Duzey (knee; out until late September/early October) and backup Henry Krieger-Coble (shoulder) out with injuries. He caught one pass for seven yards.

With Duzey and Krieger-Coble both seniors and George Kittle a junior, Iowa needs fast progress from Wisnieski.

"Route-running I think is big for me, getting separation in the pass game," Wisnieski said. "And just blocking as well. It's Big Ten, it's a physical conference."