Breaking down Iowa's travel roster in road opener at Minnesota

Chad Leistikow
Hawk Central

MINNEAPOLIS — Earlier this week, Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz snickered when asked about his plans for a 74-man travel roster to Minnesota. That number is an increase over the previous cap of 70 players, set by the Big Ten Conference, to better accommodate the NCAA’s new redshirt rule.

Ferentz, though, didn’t seem too worried about roster spots No. 61 through 74. In fact, he didn't even get to 74.

By our count, the Hawkeyes suited up 67 players for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game.

“We're not going on a field trip up there; we're not going to be taking cameras and stuff like that,” Ferentz said Tuesday. “We're going to go up there to hopefully win a football game. And guys that have a role will be on the bus and kind of go from there. If we can find 74 (players), I'll be really happy. That would be really great.”

The Hawkeyes (pictured at home vs. Iowa State) were making their first road trip of the 2018 season Saturday at Minnesota.

While it’s not the biggest deal in the world, it is interesting and telling to see which players coaches think can help sooner rather than later.

Here is a breakdown of the guys that Iowa brought to Minneapolis:

(Note: No list is actually distributed, so this was compiled the old-fashioned way — jotting down jersey numbers. Hence, this is unofficial.)

Quarterbacks (3)

Nate Stanley (jr.), Peyton Mansell (RS fr.), Spencer Petras (fr.).

Comment: Walk-on Ryan Schmidt stayed home; Iowa was comfortable bringing just three QBs.

Running backs (4)

Ivory Kelly-Martin (soph.), Toren Young (RS soph.), Mekhi Sargent (RS soph.), Henry Geil (fr.).

Comment: The top three are key contributors. Geil has played two games, so his use might be carefully managed ... unless injuries force him to play more.

Fullbacks (2)

Brady Ross (RS jr.), Austin Kelly (RS sr.).

Comment: The Hawkeyes have plenty of other fullbacks on the roster, but felt good with just their top two.

Wide receivers (8)

Nick Easley (sr.), Brandon Smith (soph.), Ihmir Smith-Marsette (soph.), Kyle Groeneweg (RS sr.), Max Cooper (soph.), Dominique Dafney (RS jr.), Tyrone Tracy Jr. (fr.), Nico Ragaini (fr.).

Comment: Interesting to see Tracy, the electric athlete from Indianapolis, make the trip. He's played in one game (vs. UNI) and made a 22-yard catch.

Tight ends (5)

Noah Fant (jr.), T.J. Hockenson (RS soph.), Nate Wieting (RS jr.), Shaun Beyer (RS soph.), Drew Cook (RS jr.).

Comment: The Hawkeyes are so loaded here that their sixth tight end is now a full-time long snapper. The top three play a lot.

Offensive line (10)

Alaric Jackson (RS soph.), Ross Reynolds (RS sr.), Keegan Render (RS sr.), Cole Banwart (RS soph.), Tristan Wirfs (soph.), Dalton Ferguson (RS sr.), Mark Kallenberger (RS fr.), Landan Paulsen (RS jr.), Levi Paulsen (RS jr.), Levi Duwa (RS fr.).

Comment: Jake Newborg, who has been working with the second team, did not make the trip.

Defensive line (10)

Anthony Nelson (RS jr.), Matt Nelson (RS sr.), Sam Brincks (RS sr.), Parker Hesse (RS sr.), Chauncey Golston (RS soph.), Brady Reiff (RS jr.), Cedrick Lattimore (jr.), A.J. Epenesa (soph.), Garret Jansen (RS jr.), Tyler Linderbaum (fr.).

Comment: Iowa only brought two extras (Jansen, Linderbaum) beyond its usual eight-man rotation.

Linebackers (7)

Djimon Colbert (RS fr.), Jack Hockaday (sr.), Barrington Wade (RS soph.), Kristian Welch (jr.), Amani Jones (jr.), Seth Benson (fr.), Dillon Doyle (fr.).

Comment: Nick Niemann, who started Iowa's first four games at outside linebacker, is out for several weeks with a knee injury. Doyle (one game) and Benson (zero) are possible redshirts.

Defensive backs (12)

Matt Hankins (soph.), Michael Ojemudia (RS jr.), Jake Gervase (RS sr.), Amani Hooker (jr.), Julius Brents (fr.), Riley Moss (fr.), Geno Stone (soph.), John Milani (RS jr.), Josh Turner (RS fr.), Kaevon Merriweather (fr.), Jack Koerner (RS fr.), Devonte Young (jr.).

Comment: Hankins, Iowa's top corner, had a cast around his left arm during pregame warmups. Young apparently has switched positions; he has been a wide receiver but switched to jersey No. 17 this week. Trey Creamer didn't make the trip.

Specialists (6)

LS Jackson Subbert (RS Jr.), LS Nate Vejvoda (RS jr.), P Colten Rastetter (RS jr.), P Ryan Gersonde (soph.), K Miguel Recinos (RS sr.), K Caleb Shudak (RS soph.).

Comment: It's notable that Keith Duncan, who made all the road trips despite red-shirting a year ago, stayed home in favor of Shudak.