Iowa's offensive line adds 40-game Big Ten starter Coy Cronk as graduate transfer
At his season-ending (and 2020 season-beginning) press conference on Monday, Kirk Ferentz dropped in a line that he thought the Hawkeyes' offensive line "had a chance to be pretty decent," which for the 22nd-year coach is quite a January compliment.
He must've known then what we know now: That his roster was adding a graduate transfer offensive lineman with 40 games of Big Ten Conference experience.
Coy Cronk's father, Nick, told the USA TODAY Sports network on Wednesday that his son was joining Iowa as a graduate transfer. Iowa spokesman Steve Roe confirmed that Cronk had indeed enrolled at the university, a development first reported by 247Sports.
Cronk was listed on Indiana's website as a 6-foot-5, 325-pound left tackle. He played that position in all 40 of his starts (including 13 during a freshman all-American season in 2016) before suffering a season-ending lower-leg injury Sept. 21 against Connecticut. Because he played only four games as a senior, Cronk was able to use a redshirt season under a new NCAA rule and now has become a graduate transfer within the Big Ten.
Cronk was so highly thought of by the Hoosiers, they brought him to the Big Ten's media days in Chicago in July, His arrival at Iowa is especially significant, considering it was eight days ago that right tackle Tristan Wirfs announced he would be leaving Iowa for this spring's NFL Draft.
While Cronk has only played left tackle at Indiana, Iowa teaches position flexibility, so he'll get acclimated on the right side, a position Wirfs held down for most of three seasons. With Alaric Jackson a natural left tackle returning for his fourth season (34 starts), it makes sense the Cronk would be a prime candidate to fill the right-tackle role.
He would probably compete with Mark Kallenberger (6-5, 291), who looked good at left guard in his first career start in the Holiday Bowl. Cronk's initial timetable for recovery was labeled four to five months, so there's no doubt he'll still be working to get back up to speed. But whatever shakes out by August, it's clear that Iowa just upgraded its offensive line in a big way.
And, especially when Cronk is able to return to the practice field, there will be some ramped-up competition under offensive line coach Tim Polasek.