Last season, the Iowa Hawkeyes may have been the least flashiest 9-0 team in BCS era history. A lot of their wins were Chloe Kardashian level ugly, and none of their talented players were truly household names. They had talent everywhere, just not at the highly-publicized skill positions. Their best overall players were linebackers and offensive linemen.
When I asked people to name Hawkeye players, and this was when they were nationally ranked in the top five, most people would say “Ricky Stanzi,” their starting quarterback who just wins, despite not actually being that good at what he does. Sure people in the industry like me knew all about Tyler Sash, Adrian Clayborn, Pat Angerer and A.J. Edds, but no other non-Iowa fans seemed to.
This year, things are different, much different. The Hawks won’t be able to (trite, shopworn, predictable bromide coming in 3….2…1…..)”fly under the radar.” They were just too good last year, and too much of the talent is returning. You don’t know the name of Senior DT Karl Klug yet, but you will.
By Paul M. Banks
“I’d say by winning the Orange Bowl people will be after us, we were in the Big Ten title hunt last year, so I feel like people will be out to get us,” the 6-4 270 pound Klug told me at Big Ten Media Day.
Klug is a quick tackle who projects well at the next level as a 4-3 tackle, but he won’t garner that much interest from NFL scouts representing 3-4 teams. He doesn’t have the size to play nose tackle, but again he’s awfully quick. And he’s working very hard this preseason on getting his first step even quicker.
Part of the reason this 2009 All-Conference first team pick is so overlooked, is ironically the same reason he has so much productivity; he plays next to one of the best players in the nation, and a likely top 10 NFL Draft pick in Adrian Clayborn.
I asked Klug about playing beside number 97.
“It’s awesome, he’s an animal, he’ll draw the attention away from you so there’s plays that you’ll be free. And on third down when you need a play, he’ll most likely make the play,” Klug said.
Written by Paul M. Banks, president and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest-focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network and Fox Sports.com
You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru