The Hawkeyes used seven true freshmen last season, many more than in most years, and it would be very surprising to see that many first-year players see the field this sea-son. Our guess is that as few as three or four true frosh will play this fall.
We won’t have any answers until Kirk Ferentz’s first weekly news conference a week from now, but one guy that seems almost certain to get extensive playing time is highly regarded wide receiver recruit Keenan Davis of Cedar Rapids Washington.
Davis took a few snaps with the No. 1 offense in the Hawkeyes’ public scrimmage and looked very smooth. He appeared to be as fast and as elusive as any receiver on the team.
Who else? Maybe Micah Hyde. He was the Northwest Ohio offensive player of the year as a quarterback last fall, but he could be pressed into service very early on the de-fensive side of the ball, simply because that’s a major need area for the Hawks right now. Starting cornerback Jordan Bernstine is out for the season with an injury and his backup, Shaun Prater (who played as a true freshman last fall), is suspended for the first two games.
Another possibility is Jordan Cotton, son of former Hawkeye and Davenport Central star Marshall Cotton. He figures to be far down the depth chart at receiver, but could have an immediate impact as a return man.
The only other reasonable possibilities are running back Brandon Wegher; Josh Brown, who could end up at either running back or defensive back but has the makings of a good special teams guy; Shane DiBona, who could find a place far down the depth chart at linebacker; and Nolan MacMillan, a prep school recruit who supposedly has looked very good in the offensive line. The O-line is perhaps the deepest area on the team, however. MacMillan would have to be really good to break into that mix.