OFFENSIVE TACKLE BRANDON SCHERFF
Arrival: Scherff’s rise out of Denison has a mythic touch to it. Yes, the Paul Bunyan guy played quarterback (as a sophomore). He also pitched for the Monarchs. He was one of the state’s top discuss and shot putters his senior year.
Then, one day at Denison High School, he talked to then-Iowa offensive line coach Reese Morgan, who recruits the state of Iowa. Morgan told Scherff the Hawkeyes were interested in him as an offensive lineman. Remember, as a QB he threw for 1,200 yards as a sophomore.
“I was getting recruited here for O-line and I didn’t want to come in here and not know what I was doing,” Scherff said. “Thought it was a pretty good choice to move there. I liked the whole concept, just going out there and hitting people.”
Yes, he was big then and the writing was pretty much on the wall. Credit the Denison coaches and Scherff’s family for following that lead, which might’ve tugged at the ego back then. The kid was a QB.
“He can throw,” Iowa quarterback James Vandenberg said. “He looks like he might be able to pop the ball in his hand.”
On junior day in 2010, Scherff was invited into Ferentz’s office for a talk. He received an offer to play O-line and at that point, the QB thing was a distant memory.
2012 Takeoff: Going into the 2012 season, Scherff is exactly where he wants to be.
When it became apparent Riley Reiff was going to bolt for the NFL last season, Scherff said, yes, he would like to play left tackle for the Iowa Hawkeyes, a position that has produced three first-round draft picks since 2004 (Robert Gallery, Bryan Bulaga and Reiff). Also, don’t forget Marshal Yanda. He played left tackle at Iowa, was drafted in the third round by the Baltimore Ravens in ’07, switched to guard and, this offseason, signed a five-year $32 million contract.
No brainer, really.
“Yes,” Scherff said when asked if he’d want the job after the Indiana game last season. “Absolutely.”
Scherff has put himself in position to be the next. That doesn’t mean there’s no competition. Directly behind him on the depth chart is Andrew Donnal, who’s also a third-year sophomore and equally as hungry to start carving out his place on Iowa’s O-line, which might be the position group with the most quality depth on Iowa’s roster.
“There are big shoes to fill with Riley leaving,” Scherff said. “I’ve got to keep watching film in summer and August, so I know my assignments like this [snaps fingers]. I’m not feeling the pressure right now, but it will be very exciting.”
Scherff broke into the lineup a few times last season, starting three games at left guard, but a camp concussion set him back.
“We’re really high on Brandon,” Ferentz said. “I think he’s going to be a good player here. He’s done a lot of good things, but he’s moving up on that progression right now. He needs more time.”
To gear up for his first run at left tackle, Scherff changed his body. He’s visibly leaner from his redshirt freshman season, but he’s still in the 310 to 320 range.
“I ate better and that’s really all I did. I’ve noticed a few changes, actually,” Scherff said. “My body fat went down. My body weight is the same and just got a little leaner.”
Here’s his recipe: “Chicken breasts, got off the fried food and all that stuff.”