Bower, Maybin Surprise Starters For Iowa

By Marc Morehouse, The Gazette

IOWA CITY — The “kid from out of nowhere” award winners from Iowa’s three week fall camp are linebacker Bo Bower and cornerback Greg Mabin.

Neither player was on many radars as far as predicted starters went for the 2014 Hawkeyes. Both showed up as starters for next Saturday’s season opener against Northern Iowa on the depth chart released by the UI on Friday.

Bower, a 6-1, 220-pounder from West Branch, was perhaps the longest shot. He is a redshirt freshman walk-on and is now listed as a co-starter with junior Travis Perry.

Overall, Iowa has six either/or decisions listed on its depth chart, including sophomore Reggie Spearman and redshirt freshman Josey Jewell at weakside linebacker.

“Outside of Quinton [Alston, senior linebacker], I don’t think we’re totally established at anything [at linebacker],” head coach Kirk Ferentz said last weekend. “Bo and Josey are guys who ought to be really good special teams players for us. Hopefully, they’ll help us from scrimmage, too.”

Mabin, a 6-2, 195-pounder from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., emerged at the left cornerback position. He was the underdog in that competition with sophomore Maurice Fleming, who’s listed as the second-teamer, and junior Sean Draper.

“It’s been a three-way deal,” Ferentz said about the competition at the left corner spot. “Greg has really done a good job.”

This spring, defensive coordinator Phil Parker said he loved what he saw out of Jewell and Mabin and, basically, foreshadowed all of this.

On Jewell, Parker said “You just watch the film and you just watch the guys running around on tape and you see him tracking guys down. Somewhere, he’s going to have to fit in our system, OK, because when you give that much effort and you attack the football the way he does and make plays the way he’s done, he’s going to probably show up.”

In discussing potential corners, Parker put Mabin on this list.

“But there’s another guy, Greg Mabin, who’s made a lot of plays this spring and you guys probably don’t even have him on your list,” Parker said (and, no, wasn’t on the list). “But he’s a very tall, lengthy guy and he’s made a lot of plays for us and he can run. He hasn’t had very much playing time and he hasn’t tackled very much, but he’s made some progress there.”

Of course, the upshot of this is extreme inexperience in the linebacker corps, which will open 2014 with one career start among the group.

After Bower/Perry and Spearman/Jewell, Iowa had four other “slashes.”

— Junior defensive end Nate Meier has seemingly pulled even with senior Mike Hardy.

“Nate Meier has really taken a big step,” Ferentz said.

— At running back, seniors Mark Weisman and Damon Bullock are listed as co-starters. It will likely go down that way, with junior Jordan Canzeri also getting a share. Canzeri also was listed as the kick returner.

— Punter remains undecided between juniors Connor Kornbrath and Dillon Kidd. Ferentz said last weekend that they were even in most numbers Iowa coaches track, which is everything from hang time to punt placement.

— It looks as though kicker is down to junior Marshall Koehn and true freshman Mick Ellis. They are listed on the depth chart with a slash. This probably doesn’t eliminate true freshman walk-on Miguel Recinos, but who knows.

The three kickers combined for a 10-for-16 effort during Iowa’s open scrimmage last weekend. Ferentz said until then, they were steady, but he also said he didn’t know who his kicker would be. Ferentz was asked if he would consider a rotation at kicker and punter. His tone suggested “no.”

“It’s possible, maybe a situational type of thing, too,” he said. “Punting has been almost dead even. They have some differences, but the numbers are almost identical. The kickers, today was not representative of what we’ve seen. Hopefully, it’s not representative of what we do in Kinnick. That’s the next question. We’re not going to be playing games out on the practice field.”

OFFENSE

SE ................. 4 ** Tevaun Smith ^ 6-2 200 Jr. Toronto, Ontario (Kent School, Conn.)

18 Derrick Willies 6-4 210 #Fr. Rock Island, Ill. (Rock Island)

LT ............... 68 *** Brandon Scherff 6-5 320 Sr. Denison, Iowa (Denison)

75 Ike Boettger 6-6 267 #Fr. Cedar Falls, Iowa (Cedar Falls)

LG .............. 79 Sean Welsh 6-3 285 #Fr. Springboro, Ohio (Springboro)

52 Boone Myers 6-5 285 #Fr. Webster City, Iowa (Webster City)

C ................ 63 ** Austin Blythe 6-3 290 Jr. Williamsburg, Iowa (Williamsburg)

58 Eric Simmons 6-2 295 Jr. Madrid, Iowa (Iowa Western CC)

or 57 * Tommy Gaul 6-3 280 Sr. Des Moines, Iowa (Dowling Catholic)

RG .............. 65 ** Jordan Walsh 6-4 290 Jr. Glendale Heights, Ill. (Glenbard West)

74 Mitch Keppy 6-5 298 So. Port Byron, Ill. (Riverdale)

RT............... 78 ** Andrew Donnal 6-7 305 Sr. Montclova, Ohio (Anthony Wayne)

64 Cole Croston 6-5 270 So. Sergeant Bluff, Iowa (Sergeant Bluff -Luton)

TE ............... 82 *** Ray Hamilton ^ 6-5 252 Sr. Strongsville, Ohio (Strongsville)

80 ** Henry Krieger Coble 6-4 250 Jr. Mount Pleasant, Iowa (Mount Pleasant)

WR ............. 11 *** Kevonte Martin-Manley 6-0 205 Sr. Pontiac, Mich. (Brother Rice)

89 * Ma? VandeBerg ^ 6-1 175 So. Brandon, S.D. (Brandon Valley)

WR ............. 17 ** Jacob Hillyer 6-4 208 Jr. Somerset, Texas (Somerset)

22 * Damond Powell ^ 5-11 180 Sr. Toledo, Ohio (Rogers HS/Snow CC)

QB .............. 15 * Jake Rudock 6-3 208 Jr. Weston, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas)

16 * C.J. Beathard 6-2 203 So. Franklin, Tenn. (Battle Ground Academy)

RB .............. 45 ** Mark Weisman 6-0 240 Sr. Buffalo Grove, Ill. (Stevenson)

or 5 *** Damon Bullock 6-0 205 Sr. Mansfield, Texas (Mansfi eld)

33 ** Jordan Canzeri 5-9 192 Jr. Troy, N.Y. (Troy)

FB ............... 42 * Macon Plewa 6-2 236 Jr. Franklin, Wis. (Franklin)

PK ................ 1 Marshall Koehn 6-0 195 Jr. Solon, Iowa (Solon)

or 2 Mick Ellis ^ 5-10 180 Fr. Allen, Texas (Lovejoy)

DEFENSE

LE ............... 34 * Nate Meier ^ 6-2 244 Jr. Tabor, Iowa (Fremont-Mills)

or 98 ** Mike Hardy 6-5 280 Sr. Appleton, Wis. (Kimberly)

49 Melvin Spears 6-2 268 Jr. Allen, Texas (Allen)

LT ............... 71 ** Carl Davis 6-5 315 Sr. Detroit, Mich. (Stevenson)

56 Faith Ekakitie 6-3 287 So. Brampton, Ontario (Lake Forest Academy)

RT............... 90 ** Louis Trinca-Pasat 6-3 290 Sr. Chicago, Ill. (Lane Tech)

99 Nathan Bazata 6-2 284 #Fr. Howells, Neb. (Howells-Dodge)

or 67 Jaleel Johnson 6-4 310 So. Lombard, Ill. (Montini Catholic)

RE .............. 95 * Drew Ott ^ 6-4 270 Jr. Trumbull, Neb. (Giltner)

94 Riley McMinn 6-7 265 Jr. Rochester, Ill. (Rochester)

OLB ............ 39 ** Travis Perry 6-3 232 Jr. Urbandale, Iowa (Urbandale)

or 41 Bo Bower 6-1 220 #Fr. West Branch, Iowa (West Branch)

MLB ........... 52 *** Quinton Alston ^ 6-1 232 Sr. Sicklerville, N.J. (Timber Creek Reg.)

39 ** Travis Perry 6-3 232 Jr. Urbandale, Iowa (Urbandale)

or 50 Chad Gilson 6-1 235 Sr. Urbandale, Iowa (Urbandale/Northern Iowa)

WLB ............. 6 * Reggie Spearman ^ 6-3 230 So. Chicago, Ill. (Simeon)

or 43 Josey Jewell 6-2 225 #Fr. Decorah, Iowa (Decorah)

36 ** Cole Fisher 6-2 233 Jr. Omaha, Neb. (Millard North)

LC ............... 13 Greg Mabin 6-2 195 So. Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Calvary Christian Academy)

28 * Maurice Fleming 6-0 200 So. Chicago, Ill. (Curie Metropolitan)

SS ............... 37 *** John Lowdermilk ^ 6-2 210 Sr. Carrollton, Ohio (Carrollton)

26 Kevin Ward 6-1 205 #Fr. Homer Glen, Ill. (Providence Catholic)

FS ............... 27 ** Jordan Lomax 5-10 200 Jr. Upper Marlboro, Md. (DeMatha Catholic)

12 * Anthony Gair 6-2 200 So. Plano, Texas (Prestonwood Christian)

or 32 Solomon Warfield 6-0 180 #Fr. Lorain, Ohio (St. Edward)

RC .............. 14 * Desmond King ^ 5-11 190 So. Detroit, Mich. (East English Village)

7 ** Sean Draper ^ 6-0 190 Jr. Cleveland, Ohio (Glenville)

SPECIALISTS

PT ............... 98 ** Connor Kornbrath ^ 6-6 240 Jr. Bridgeport, W. Va. (Bridgeport)

OR 16 Dillon Kidd 6-2 230 Jr. Deerfield Beach, Fla. (El Camino CC)

Punt Returns: 11 Kevonte Martin-Manley

Kickoff Returns: 33 Jordan Canzeri

Deep Snaps: 97 Tyler Kluver

Holder: 98 Connor Kornbrath, 16 Dillon Kidd

* - - Letters won ^ - - Redshirt year still available # - - Indicates redshirt freshman

l Comments: (319) 398-8256; marc.morehouse@thegazette.com

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