No. 45 -- CB Maurice Fleming

RS freshman made the move from WR to CB early last fall

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March 28, 2014 | 5:55 pm

Corner should be strong for the Hawkeyes in 2013. But yes, it's a "should" and not a "will."

Senior B.J. Lowery missed two games and was limited in one or two others. If he stays healthy, he's as close to a lockdown as Iowa has. Sophomore Jordan Lomax is on the boundary side. He's coming off a redshirt in '12 after having a torn labrum repaired last August. Post-spring, Lomax held the job.

There's a battle for No. 3 corner and redshirt freshman Maurice Fleming is right in the middle of that, joining sophomore Sean Draper.

Key 2012 factor: Fleming, 6-0, 188, was a wide receiver when he stepped on campus and through August camp. Then, shortly after or just before the season started, Fleming was switched to cornerback, which was the position he was initially recruited for at Iowa. By the way, he was a do-everything QB at Chicago Curie High School, suffering a torn ACL his senior year.

Offseason factor: Fleming has climbed the depth chart, sitting at No. 2 left corner (field corner) behind Lowery after spring. Depth chart stagnation probably played a role in the spring departures of corners Torrey Campbell and Kevin Buford.

Competition: If you're talking third corner -- and that is Fleming's immediate outlook -- it's Fleming and Draper, who played as a true freshman last season. This matters. It's difficult to put a percentage on it, but defensive coordinator Phil Parker wasn't afraid to throw nickel/dime coverage out there. That, in more passing situations than not, puts corner No. 3 on the field. Any other names at corner will come from the incoming freshmen, Desmond King or, perhaps, Malik Rucker.

Why No. 45?: As far as corner goes, where is Fleming's technical knowledge of the position? He's been an Iowa corner for a year. Another intriguing aspect for Fleming is special teams. He probably doesn't see many return attempts with Jordan Cotton around, but Fleming could help somewhere else.

Outlook: There is some competition at the boundary corner, where Lomax holds No. 1 going into fall. He's a third-year sophomore, but an unknown in competition. Can Fleming kick his way in there? Yes, he's a left corner, but, as with everything Iowa does, coaches will play their best two CBs. Assume one is Lowery and then the next three are Lomax, Draper and Fleming. There is opportunity here for the Chicago freshman.

Click here for an interactive look at the complete Top 45 series.

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