T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant honored as Iowa Hawkeyes with new bobbleheads
If Iowa fans are left longing as they wait for the return of "Tight End U" to Hawkeye football, they can at least find a couple of brand-new friends who'll nod to that sentiment.
Former Iowa tight end greats T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant are each immortalized in black and gold with the release of Iowa bobbleheads Friday from the Milwaukee-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
The pair were the first tight ends from the same school to be selected in the first round of the same NFL draft. Hockenson, a Chariton native, went eighth overall to the Detroit Lions. Fant, from Omaha, Nebraska, was selected 20th by the Denver Broncos.
And now, they're together in miniaturized glory with their bobbleheads manufactured by FOCO.
The bobbleheads are individually numbered and are backed by a name-and-number plaque for each player. Each bobblehead has 2,019 copies manufactured in its initial run and were made for commemorative sale for $40 plus an $8 shipping charge.
Both Hockenson and Fant are off to similar starts in their rookie NFL seasons. They each have 23 catches and a pair of touchdowns through nine games, although Hockenson has a 343-300 edge in receiving yards for the year.
Hockenson led the 2018 Hawkeyes as a sophomore with 760 yards on 49 catches with six touchdowns. Fant had 39 grabs for 519 yards and a team-best seven scores as a junior, and his 19 career touchdowns is a record for Iowa tight ends. Both declared for the pros following last season.
Their presences have certainly been missed in Iowa City this fall. The 6-3 Hawkeyes have — and brace yourselves, Iowa fans — 14 catches combined (and just 191 yards) from their tight-end group this fall (Nate Wieting, 6-64; Shaun Beyer, 5-68; Sam LaPorta, 3-59. And no touchdowns. The Hawkeyes' receivers have just 12 touchdown catches as a unit through nine games.
Could the 2019 group, which will almost certainly fall short of a Big Ten West Division title, have used either of these guys?
That's two more obvious nods yes.