Iowa football's Sam LaPorta will return for another season. That's huge for the Hawkeyes' tight end room.
Shortly after Iowa's Vrbo Citrus Bowl loss, junior tight end Sam LaPorta addressed his NFL future. He stated that he was focused solely on the game and would make his NFL decision in the coming days. On Wednesday, he made that decision official.
LaPorta will return to Iowa for his senior season, giving the Hawkeye offense a much-needed boost going into the 2022 season. The fact that LaPorta could've declared this year solidifies he's a pro prospect but another year of solid production will likely make him a heralded tight end in the 2023 draft. His campaign is already off to a strong start following his career day in the Citrus Bowl: seven receptions for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Recap:Iowa football loses to Kentucky 20-17 in the Citrus Bowl
Over the past two seasons, he's been the security blanket for the offense. LaPorta led Iowa in receptions in 2020 and 2021 and this year led the team in receptions (53), yards (670) and tied for first in touchdowns (three).
A look at Iowa's tight ends in 2022
LaPorta's return, along with promising redshirt freshman Luke Lachey, creates one of the top tight end duos in the Big Ten. Lachey finished the season with eight receptions for 133 yards but primarily was on the field in blocking situations. He'll be expected to take a big step forward in development as he continues to adjust to the Big Ten level. Additionally, Iowa has redshirt freshman Elijah Yelverton, a three-star prospect from 2020, in the mix.
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Kennington Lloyd Smith III covers Iowa Hawkeyes football and men's basketball for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.