Iowa linebacker Jayden McDonald will transfer

Mark Emmert
Hawk Central

Jayden McDonald was the last recruit to jump on board in the Iowa football team's 2018 class.

He never played a game for the Hawkeyes, though, and McDonald is transferring just as his redshirt freshman season was set to begin. The university made the announcement Friday.

McDonald was a three-star recruit who chose Iowa over Purdue, Mississippi and Kansas State. A sturdy 6-foot, 235-pounder, he was not listed on the team's depth chart this fall.

The Hawkeyes went to a 4-2-5 defensive alignment last season, which reduces the need for linebackers and makes the competition at that position more challenging.

Iowa linebacker Jayden McDonald, pictured at a spring practice April 26, has announced he will transfer.

McDonald was Iowa's 23rd commitment in the 2018 class last February. The other linebackers in that group — Dillon Doyle, Seth Benson and Logan Klemp — remain.

Broderick Binns, Iowa's director of player development, told the Register this summer that McDonald was one of last year's freshmen that he worked closest with in trying to ease his transition to the college game. McDonald is a native of Suwanee, Georgia, although the distance from home wasn't the only challenge, Binns said.

"It's still a work in progress. He is a long way from home and I am closely keeping an eye on Jayden," Binns said then. "Great kid. Very smart. Obviously a great talent on the football field. But it takes longer for some guys to get it than others.

"I think he's learned what it means to be early, and on time is just not good enough. When it comes to meetings, when it comes to lifting, when it comes to classes, tutors, he is showing up early. He gets that, and that's awesome. He has a car now, so I think that's easier in his mind if he does have to get home, he can drive it. He's growing and no doubt he's not done maturing, but at 18, 19, who is? It's a day-by-day process."

Mark Emmert covers the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Register. Reach him at or 319-339-7367. Follow him on Twitter at @MarkEmmert.

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