Iowa roster news: Jay Scheel rising; defensive back leaves team
CHICAGO – Get ready to hear more about Jay Scheel, Hawkeye fans.
A redshirt freshman, Scheel was listed as the No. 2 wide receiver on Iowa's football depth chart released Thursday in conjunction with Big Ten Media Days.
That's probably been the most notable promotion on the first two-deep since spring drills.
Scheel came in as one of the top recruits in the Class of 2014, but he was withheld from fall camp with a knee injury. Receivers coach Bobby Kennedy said during the spring that Scheel was still in recovery mode, but the 6-foot-1, 195-pounder from Mount Auburn finally seems to be getting healthy.
“Last spring’s the first time we actually got to see him close to full speed," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, who said Scheel was the "talk of the office" when he was a high school sophomore in the state championship game for Union High School.
"Kind of like (previously injured tight end) Jon Wisnieski, I think, we’re going to see a different guy in August here. ... We had great feelings about him coming out of high school.”
In the April 25 spring game, Scheel caught two passes for 23 yards. Now, he has replaced senior Andrew Stone as the backup to junior Matt VandeBerg. Seniors Tevaun Smith and Jacob Hillyer remain 1-2 at the split end. Ferentz did say the competition remained "wide open" behind the top three of Smith, VandeBerg and Hillyer, though.
A few other notable depth-chart tidbits:
-- There is no more "or" at running back. LeShun Daniels is listed as the clear No. 1, and Jordan Canzeri (who rushed for 120 yards on 12 carries in the TaxSlayer Bowl) is No. 2. Akrum Wadley and Derrick Mitchell Jr. also figure to get playing time.
-- Sean Welsh, who was absent from the team during spring camp for non-football reasons, is listed as the No. 2 left guard behind Eric Simmons. ”Sean jumped back in with everybody in June. He’s really done a great job," Ferentz said. "We’re happy to have him back with the football team.”
--Walk-on Brandon Snyder is listed as the backup strong safety to Miles Taylor, but starting senior free safety Jordan Lomax said Thursday that Snyder has slid to backup at free, and now Taylor and Anthony Gair are fighting to start at strong safety.
-- In the weight-gain department, red-shirt sophomore Ike Boettger is the winner. Iowa's starting right tackle is listed at 300 pounds, up 33 over last year. Sophomore outside linebacker Ben Niemann, a new starter, is up 20 pounds to 225.
PRAYERS FOR POWELL: Ferentz got a little choked up when the topic of former Iowa receiver Damond Powell came up. Powell is now on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list for the NFL's Arizona Cardinals after three masked men opened fire and shot him in the face during a cookout outside his grandmother's home in Ohio. Ferentz said he had spoken with Powell's mother, who told him Powell was released from the hospital Wednesday.
“It’s a horrible thing the whole family had to endure," Ferentz said. "Damond is such a positive person – if you meet his mom and dad, you can certainly see where that came from.”
ANOTHER TRANSFER: Defensive back Solomon Warfield became the latest scholarship player to leave the Hawkeye roster. Iowa announced Thursday the Lorain, Ohio, native was transferring. Warfield played in one game in his two years at Iowa, and didn't register any stats.