Iowa CITY, Iowa - Iowa football opened camp on Monday with fierce competition at positions all over the field. A disappointing 2012 created opportunities and we eagerly wait for players to emerge.
With that in mind, let's have some fun with some unknowns. We'll call this piece the Hawkeye High-Fives:
Five Breakout Candidates
1. Jake Duzey - I'm not exactly sure the name of his position - tight end, H-Back, hybrid. It doesn't matter. Kid can ball and is a match-up nightmare for linebackers.
2. Tevaun Smith - The overriding belief is that Iowa needs to find quick, speedy slot receivers to fit into Greg Davis' offense. While true, the unit can not prosper on that alone. Smith is a big, physical, athletic playmaker type in the mold of Marvin McNutt.
3. Drew Ott - Iowa needs a pass rush in the worst way and Matt Roth isn't coming through the door anytime soon. While not the freak that was Roth, Ott is a very athletic guy with size. If his strength comes along, he could be the answer to Reese Morgan's prayers.
4. Jordan Lomax - The DC DB was on his way to playing time last season before surgery forced him to red shirt. He's back and brings a nice combination of speed and physicality to the corner spot vacated by Micah Hyde.
5. Damond Powell - The junior college transfer could be that speedy slot receiver that we talked about above. If he can fill that role, it will make it a lot easier on everybody in the offense.
Five True Freshmen to Watch
1. Malik Rucker - Iowa needs some young defensive backs to help depth and on special teams. Rucker is as talented as anybody in the incoming group.
2. Jonathan Parker - Coaches are looking for help with underneath routes and Parker brings many of the same skills as does Powell with versatility out of the backfield. He's just younger and needs more time to acclimate.
3. Reggie Spearman - With three senior linebackers projected to start, the talented Chicago product could get his feet wet on special teams.
4. Josey Jewell - A late commitment in the class and one without much fanfare, Jewell could help on special teams.
5. Desmond King - The Detroit product could add coverage help to the secondary and work in on kick and punt teams.
Five Biggest Question Marks
1. Quarterback - Can somebody emerge from the group of Jake Rudock, Cody Sokol and C.J. Beathard to lead this offense?
2. Pass Rush - Can Iowa prevent teams from picking apart its secondary by putting heat on the quarterback?
3. Wide Receiver - Can anybody get open? If they do, can they catch the ball?
4. Coaching Chemistry - With all the change in assistants the last two off-seasons, will everybody land on the same page?
5. Daunting Schedule - Even if the Hawkeyes improve over last season, will it be enough to show up in wins versus a very tough slate?