Pre-spring depth chart: Nathan Stanley is Iowa's No. 1 QB
IOWA CITY, Ia. — There were few surprises in the initial 2017 depth chart that Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz released Monday.
Sophomore Nathan Stanley is first in line to replace the graduated C.J. Beathard at quarterback.
Michael Ojemudia and Manny Rugamba are listed as the starting cornerbacks, with the more experienced Josh Jackson as a backup.
Anthony Nelson is ahead of Matt Nelson as the starting defensive left end, a switch from the way it played out throughout 2016.
Sophomore Cedrick Lattimore is poised to start at defensive tackle after the graduation of Jaleel Johnson.
And redshirt freshman Alaric Jackson made his first appearance on the chart, as the backup left offensive tackle to Boone Myers.
"If we didn't think it was beneficial, we wouldn't have done it. No regrets there," Ferentz said of having Stanley be Beathard's backup as a freshman, moving past junior Tyler Wiegers. "I think the reps that he got there, being the No. 2 guy for the majority of the season, I think it will help him. But all that being said, it's like every position; it will be an open competition everywhere."
That was the overriding message to all players listed on the depth chart or not, Ferentz cautioned.
"We start from scratch every season — whether we went 12-0 or 8-4, it really doesn't matter," he told reporters at his season-ending news conference. "We have to start realizing we haven't accomplished anything. And Nate hasn't thrown a lot of significant passes yet, so we'll let those guys compete and decide on the field."
Iowa must replace two veteran cornerbacks in Desmond King and Greg Mabin. Rugamba was a rising star but missed the end of his true freshman season to injury. Jackson started opposite King in the 30-3 Outback Bowl loss that left the Hawkeyes with an 8-5 record. Ojemudia was the only other healthy corner.
It also leaves a void for a newcomer to make a quick impact, Ferentz acknowledged.
"I don't know who is going to be in this recruiting class yet, for sure, but those guys will have an opportunity to come and play," he said. "You talk about opportunity — you're a perimeter guy, offense or defense guy right now — you create opportunity. Manny is a great example. I mean, he jumped in there and played in the biggest game of the year (a win over Michigan) and did a heck of a job. He could probably do the same thing on offense — and I think he's either a one- or two-star guy, but the guy is a football player.
"I wish we had three like that. So we are trying to recruit a couple guys like that, and that's what we tell them: 'Hey, come on — door is wide open for right now'."
The complete depth chart:
SE: Jerminic Smith, Devonte Young
LT: Boone Myers, Alaric Jackson
LG: Keegan Render, Ross Reynolds
C: James Daniels, Lucas LeGrand
RG: Sean Welsh, Levi Paulsen
RT: Ike Boettger, Dalton Ferguson
WR: Matt VandeBerg, Jay Scheel
QB: Nathan Stanley, Tyler Wiegers, Drew Cook
RB: Akrum Wadley, Toks Akinribade, Derrick Mitchell Jr.
FB: Drake Kulick, Brady Ross
PK: Keith Duncan, Miguel Recinos
LE: Anthony Nelson, Matt Nelson
LT: Cedrick Lattimore, Brady Reiff, Garret Jansen
RT: Nathan Bazata, Jake Hulett
RE: Parker Hesse, Sam Brincks
OLB: Ben Niemann, Kevin Ward, Kristian Welch
MLB: Josey Jewell, Jack Hockaday, Angelo Garbutt
WLB: Bo Bower, Amani Jones, Aaron Mends
LC: Michael Ojemudia, Cedric Boswell
SS: Miles Taylor, Amani Hooker
FS: Brandon Snyder, Jake Gervase
RC: Manny Rugamba, Joshua Jackson
P: Colten Rastetter