Brown: Next man in? Meet Iowa's Boone Myers
Iowa's last four multi-year starters at left offensive tackle have been first-round NFL draft picks.
Boone Myers, a sophomore, will head into fall camp No. 1 on the depth chart at that position. The opportunity to be a multi-year starter and join the first-round quartet of Brandon Scherff, Riley Reiff, Bryan Bulaga and Robert Gallery is there for the taking.
If humility is a prerequisite for success, Myers has what it takes to be a future star at Iowa.
"I've got a lot of work to do," Myers said. "A young guy in the line, filling some big shoes. I've got to improve on a lot of things. I'm looking forward to it."
Sophomore Ike Boettger is listed as the starting right offensive tackle, and junior Cole Croston has the flexibility to play both spots.
"When we get to camp (in August) we'll see what our best combination is, and go from there," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Myers will be out to replace Scherff, a consensus all-American at left tackle. It's a task he embraces.
"I use that as a chip on my shoulder," Myers said. "I guess the more I hear it, the better it is."
Scherff offers this endorsement.
"He's a good football player," Scherff said on the eve of last week's NFL Draft. "He's a little further along than I was. He's a hardworking football player and he wants to improve every day."
Myers came to Iowa as a walk-on. After two years in the program, he looks nothing like the 250-pound tight end who played in a single-wing offense at Webster City High School. Iowa assistant coach Reese Morgan saw Myers play basketball for the Lynx, and that sold him as much as anything Boone did on the football field.
"All of us would like to say we were smart enough to know it was going to happen like this," Ferentz said. "Recruiting is a projection anyway. And in his case, what you saw on film didn't do total justice. That's why seeing him play basketball was important."
Seeing him on the field for two seasons now has convinced Ferentz that Myers, up to 300 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame, is a keeper.
"The bottom line is that he's got requisite ability," Ferentz said. "He's got a great attitude. He works hard. He's got a lot of pride in what he does. That gives you a chance to be a good player. And he's not backing down from the hard work involved."
The journey to the first round of the NFL Draft has plenty of bumps in the road. Scherff was on Mike Martin's highlight tape when the Michigan defensive lineman was taken in the third round of the 2012 NFL Draft. The clip showed Martin manhandling Scherff, then a redshirt freshman guard.
"It seemed like they showed it seven times," Ferentz said. "Most players have humble beginnings, and you earn your way to the top. That's certainly what (Brandon) did."
Ferentz uses that story as a teaching tool now. The coach is looking forward to watching Myers go against Iowa defensive end Drew Ott when camp opens in August. Ott went against Scherff in practice last season. Now the roles are reversed. Ott is the name player, Myers the up-and-comer.
Myers will have some trying times in 2015. He might even make someone's highlight tape. The challenge will be to fight through that and get better because of it. If that happens, who knows?
The 2018 NFL Draft might be a night he'll never forget.
Hawkeye columnist Rick Brown is a 10-time Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Follow him on Twitter: @ByRickBrown.