A CLOSER LOOK AT IOWA’S SECONDARY
The Depth Chart
No. 1s (cornerbacks) — B.J. Lowery, sr., 5-11, 193; Jordan Lomax, s0., 5-10, 195 No. 2s – Maurice Fleming, #fr., 6-0, 188; Sean Draper, so., 6-0, 180. No. 1s (safeties) — free safety Tanner Miller, sr., 6-2, 207; strong safety John Lowdermilk, jr., 6-2, 207 OR Nico Law, jr., 6-1, 200; No. 2s — free safety Anthony Gair, #fr., 6-2, 200; strong safety Ruben Lile, #fr., 6-3, 210 (# = redshirt freshman)
Cornerbacks: B.J. Lowery will begin his second full season as a starter and is one of the better athletes on the team. He has what a corner needs — extremely quick feet, fluid hips and will throw his body into a play. Don’t discount the physical nature of the position, especially with the way Iowa structures its defense. Jordan Lomax missed 2012 with a shoulder injury. He returned as the No. 1 right corner. (Right and left corner isn’t a huge distinction in Iowa’s defense. Occasionally, defensive coordinator Phil Parker will make a call to match personnel, but mostly the sides are about muscle memory. Safeties: Tanner Miller will begin his third season as a starter. Safety play struggled last season, when Parker, who coached Iowa’s secondary for 13 years, concentrated on coordinator and Darrell Wilson took over the secondary. Something was lost in translation. Strong safety appears to be a toss-up between juniors John Lowdermilk and Nico Law. Law started the final four games of ’12, but was hurt in the spring and that opened the door for Lowdermilk, who moved from free safety. It’s a “no duh,” but the player who makes the fewest mistakes wins this job.
The No. 2s
Cornerbacks: How much of a competition is there between Lomax and sophomore Sean Draper? Lomax was inserted as the starter when he returned from the shoulder injury. Draper learned on the job last season as a true freshman. Draper could make a dramatic leap from freshman to sophomore year. Also, a healthy competition could still lead to a number of snaps for the No. 3 corner in dime situations. Fleming switched from wide receiver at the beginning of the 2012 season. Safeties: Redshirt freshmen Anthony Gair and Ruben Lile will battle for No. 4 safety, with Lowdermilk or Law likely filling an extra safety role in nickel. Lile missed 2012 with a torn ACL.
Cornerbacks: Desmond King is the only incoming freshman at corner. He could work his way into playing time. Iowa’s corner depth took a shot in the offseason when Torrey Campbell quit football to concentrate on track and Kevin Buford transferred. Iowa corner depth only goes as far as senior walk-on Gavin Smith. Safeties: True freshmen Malik Rucker and Solomon Warfield were recruited as a strong and free safety bookend. Redshirt freshman Greg Mabin moved from wide receiver to free safety before spring practice. Beyond the top three, Iowa doesn’t have a safety who’s played in a college game, either on defense or special teams.
– Marc Morehouse
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