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Kirk Ferentz: 'Encouraging' news on health front, as Iowa Hawkeyes' injury list is finally shrinking

Dargan Southard
Hawk Central

IOWA CITY, Ia. — For the first time in a while, Iowa's injury list is shrinking — not growing.

Left tackle Alaric Jackson (knee), free safety Kaevon Merriweather (foot) and cornerback Julius Brents (knee) are on track to return Saturday, when the No. 14 Hawkeyes travel to No. 18 Michigan.

"We’ll let them work all week and see how that goes," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said at Tuesday's press conference. "Hopefully, we’ll start getting some guys back on the field instead of losing guys. That’s encouraging, at least, from that standpoint."

Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks with reporters, Tuesday, Oct., 1, 2019, at the Hansen Football Performance Center in Iowa City, Iowa.

Jackson is certainly the biggest piece coming back. Ferentz didn't fully commit to the heralded left tackle immediately re-entering the starting lineup, but if Jackson is "capable of starting, we'll start him."

Early indications are that Jack Koerner will keep his starting job over Merriweather, as will D.J. Johnson over Brents. Although Merriweather made his first career start in the season opener, Koerner now owns more starts (three) since taking over.

Brents, meanwhile, has yet to play this season. His activation at least provides depth to an Iowa secondary in desperate need of it. Brents could be a cash candidate if and when the Hawkeyes go to their 4-2-5 look at Michigan.

Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at msouthard@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.