Iowa CITY, Iowa - This is the third in a series of positional breakdowns as Iowa gets ready for spring football later this month. Today, it's tight ends and fullbacks:
TE - Henry Krieger-Coble, RS Fr; Ray Hamilton, TR So; Zach Derby, RS Sr; C.J. Fiedorowicz, TR Jr.; Jake Duzey, RS Fr;
FB - Mark Weisman, RS So; Adam Cox, RS Fr; Matt Meyers, RS So; Brad Rogers, RS Jr., Jacob Reisen, RS Jr.; Jonathan Gimm, RS Sr.
TE - Brad Herman.
FB - None.
TE - Fiedorowicz, Hamilton, Derby.
FB - Rogers. Weisman, Meyers, Gimm.
TE - Fiedorowicz.
FB - Rogers.
TE - Few positions have seen more success during the Kirk Ferentz era than has tight end. Players excel at Iowa and then take their games to the NFL.
For the first time in a long time, the spot witnessed troubles in 2011. The Iowa offensive coaches stopped utilizing the tight ends after the players at the position struggled with assignments. By the end of the year, though, things were looking up.
Fiedorowicz (16 receptions, 167 yards, three touchdowns as a sophomore) returns after showing signs as to why he was the second-ranked tight end nationally in the '10 recruiting class.
Derby came out of nowhere to steal the staring position from Herman early in the season. He finished with 12 receptions for 117 yards and was the best blocker at the position.
Hamilton got his feet wet in '11. Unfortunately, he injured himself during bowl prep and lost some valuable development time. He showed enough to play as a true freshman, though, and a big step forward could be coming in the fall.
Krieger-Coble and Duzey are highly regarded youngsters. They'll have to fight their way up the depth chart, but the talent is there.
FB - Brad Rogers' return to the gridiron last year was one of the best sports stories every to come out of Iowa City. The Ohio native bounced back from a heart ailment to look like his old nasty self as a blocker.
Rogers is a key player in front of what will be a young stable of running backs in '12. He runs the ball well, too, and new coordinator Greg Davis might find some creative ways to use the junior.
Gimm and Meyers started the season as the main fullbacks while Rogers went through a barrage of heart tests. They showed they are capable and add some valuable experience on the depth chart.
Weisman is an interesting case. After sitting out last year, the transfer from Air Force could make some noise at the position.
TE - Last year's struggles likely will be a blip on the radar for a position that's as crucial as any other one to the Iowa offense running smoothly. The stable of athletes at this spot might be the deepest in the Ferentz Era.
FB - If Rogers stays healthy, fullback is in great hands. Not only is he very capable at his job, he adds an edge to the Iowa offense that goes beyond Xs and Os.