OFFENSIVE TACKLE ANDREW DONNAL
Arrival: Not everyone but a lot of schools wanted the 6-7, 302-pounder out of Wayne (Ohio) School. Wisconsin, Michigan State and Michigan offered. So did Stanford, West Virginia and South Carolina. Ohio State, home-state fave, didn’t offer, but that was OK. Iowa won.
Donnal was a good-get and only got better after being selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Here are a few snippets from a Rivals.com scouting report on Donnal from 2009: “His powerbase is well proportioned and filled out, but he can easily add more muscle mass in the upper body. Donnal looks physically like a slightly thinner Baker Steinkuhler of Nebraska.” And “ Donnal is a bit light in the pants and could use another 25 pounds of muscle mass, which should give him more pop off the ball.” That was at 285, BTW. Now, he’s 302. One more, “There is any doubt he will become a mainstay on a college offensive line for three years, he is just too athletic and long not to have a major impact in college.”
2012 Takeoff: Sophomore Brandon Scherff sure seems planted at left tackle, where Donnal, also a redshirt sophomore, is listed as a No. 2. Scherff took all the first-team LT snaps during the spring scrimmage. At right tackle, it sure feels as though junior Brett Van Sloten has the job. He played the majority of the Insight Bowl against Oklahoma after Markus Zusevics left with an illness.
Donnal is “in the mix,” head coach Kirk Ferentz said this spring. Right now, it looks as though he’s locked into competition with Nolan MacMillan for No. 3 tackle. Could he break in at guard? Possibly, but not likely. Donnal played left tackle exclusively during spring scrimmage. Matt Tobin, Austin Blythe and Conor Boffeli rotated the guard positions.
There are no hard conclusions to be made. Donnal is a sophomore who’s in the mix, likely as the No. 3 tackle for 2012. He’s a tackle, that’s probably safe to assume. He ended spring on the second unit, so he has work to do to beat out Scherff or, perhaps, Van Sloten.
Don’t underestimate the No. 3 of “paired” positions. The No. 3 usually is the next player in the game in case of injury. If Donnal ends up in that position this season, it’s a positive step. If he got a look at guard, that’d be an unexpected turn, but one that might get him to the field sooner.