Iowa Hawkeye Football: The All-Ferentz Dream Team

David Fidler Correspondent IAugust 14, 2012

Iowa Hawkeye Football: The All-Ferentz Dream Team

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    As Kirk Ferentz will be entering the 14th year of his tenure as head coach of the Iowa Hawkeyes, it seems a perfect time to put together an All-Ferentz Dream Team.

    In all cases, I tried to be true to the players' positions. For example, I didn't list defensive ends, but strong-side and weak-side defensive ends.

    Also, I took into consideration both the duration of a player's contributions, as well as effectiveness of the player while he was there.

    Lastly, I took into consideration the entire careers of players whose time in Iowa City straddled both Ferentz and Hayden Fry.

Quarterback

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    No. 1: Ricky Stanzi, 2007-10

    Stanzi spent his first two years on campus seeing minimal action. However, as a redshirt sophomore, he won a quarterback battle and never let go of his spot.

    As a sophomore, he mostly served as a field general but got more comfortable as the season wore on, displaying his trademark cool in a late-game drive against, at-the-time undefeated, Penn State.

    As a junior, the moniker Stanziball was created in his honor. which urbandictionary.com defines as, "Egregiously ill-advised throws by QB Ricky Stanzi, often times leading to a pick six."

    Often, it seemed like Stanzi was lighting his own hair on fire just to prove he could put it out. Thankfully, he usually could. Stanzi finished the year with 15 interceptions—four pick-sixes—but also led the Hawks to the Orange Bowl and 11 wins.

    His senior year didn't go quite as well, but individually, Stanzi finished 2010 with the highest efficiency rating—157.63—of any quarterback in the Ferentz era.

    Stanzi completed his Iowa career as the only signal-caller in the Ferentz era to get drafted.

     

    No. 2: Brad Banks, 2001-2002

    Banks was basically a one-and-done deal, but he was the leader of the most productive offense in Iowa history, a Heisman runner-up, a Davey O'Brien Award winner and the second-most efficient quarterback in the Ferentz era.

Running Back

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    No. 1: Shonn Greene, 2005-06, 2008

    In terms of longevity, Shonn Greene didn't have much to show for his collegiate career, as he failed to qualify out of high school, spent a year in a prep academy and then played sparingly his first two years on campus. He then failed to make grades, which resulted in him taking a year at Kirkwood Community College.

    However, when he did play he was, without question, the most effective back during the Kirk Ferentz years.

    In 2008, the Doak Walker Award winner ran for 1,850 yards, 20 touchdowns and six yards per carry (YPC).

     

    No. 2: Ladell Betts, 1997-2001

    Betts had the unfortunate fate of playing college ball during the transition years from Fry to Ferentz.

    In his three years under Ferentz, he carried whatever offense Iowa was able to muster—actually, the 2001 offense was quite good—finishing his career with a total of 3,686 yards for 25 touchdowns and 4.4 YPC.

Fullback

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    No. 1: Jeremy Allen, 1998-2001

    Allen was, without question, the most versatile and oft-used of the Ferentz-era fullbacks—an era in which most fullbacks have served as roving guards.

    In his junior and senior years, he gained 377 yards rushing for 4.39 YPC and four touchdowns. He also caught 29 passes for 298 yards and four touchdowns.

     

    No. 2: Tom Busch, 2003-2007

    As previously mentioned, the typical Ferentz Iowa fullback has served less as an offensive weapon and more as a roving battering ram, and Busch was the best of them.

    For the most part, he paved the way for tailback Albert Young and blocked for quarterback Drew Tate; nevertheless, he also logged 24 career carries—2.6 YPC—and 20 career receptions to go along with five touchdowns.

Wide Receiver

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    Nos. 1: Marvin McNutt, 2007-11; Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, 2006-10

    Marvin McNutt came to Iowa as a quarterback and remained a signal-caller until the 2008 bowl practices. At that point, Ricky Stanzi was firmly entrenched as the starting quarterback, and McNutt's athletic skills were difficult to keep off the field.

    He had a strong 2009, an even stronger 2010, and then blew up the Iowa record book in 2011.

    McNutt finished the season as the Big Ten's inaugural Richter-Howard Wide Receiver of the Year.

    He also holds school records for receiving yards in a season (1,315) and career (2,861) and single-season (12) and career touchdown receptions (28). Finally, he tied the Iowa single-season reception mark with 82 catches and ranks second in career receptions (170).

    DJK, as he was affectionately known, ended his career under ignominious circumstances, and it was safe to say he was not Kirk Ferentz's favorite Hawkeye. 

    Nonetheless, after McNutt, he was Ferentz's most explosive receiver, and in fact, McNutt broke a number of DJK's records.

     

    Nos. 2: Kevin Kasper, 1996-2000; Kahlil Hill, 1998, 2000-01

    Kasper played for Ferentz in the transitional years, but he finished his time in Iowa City as the career leader in receptions with 157. He is tied with McNutt for the most single-season receptions with 82 receptions and is tied for the single-game record with 13 catches.

    Hill is a hometown boy—he played for City High—that was both a great return man and receiver. He finished his career with 152 receptions for 1,892 yards and 15 touchdowns.

Tight End

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    No. 1: Dallas Clark, 1999-2002

    Clark walked on to the team and spent the early part of his career as a linebacker. He moved to tight end in 2001 and had a strong year despite missing games due to injury.

    He broke out as a junior, ending up with 43 catches for 742 yards and four touchdowns. Clark, who was 23 at the time, opted out of his senior year and has enjoyed an impressive NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts, and now, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

     

    No. 2: Tony Moeaki, 2005-09

    The Flying Hawaiian could have been the greatest tight end not only in the Ferentz era, but in Iowa history, and possibly, one of the top Big Ten tight ends of all time. Unfortunately, he lost a great deal of playing time to injuries.

    When healthy, he was one of the most dangerous offensive players in the conference and finished his career with 76 catches for 953 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Offensive Line

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    No. 1 (from left to right): Robert Gallery, 1999-2003; Eric Steinbach, 1998-2002; Bruce Nelson, 1999-2002; Bryan Bulaga, 2007-09; Riley Reiff 2008-11

     

    No. 2 (from left to right): Marshal Yanda 2005-06; David Porter 1998-2002; Rob Bruggeman, 2004-08; Mike Elgin, 2002-06; Seth Olsen, 2004-08

     

    In true Kirk Ferentz fashion, the "best five linemen" are on the field at once, regardless of "position," outside of the center which is a specialized position.

    It is a testament to how good the 2002 offensive line was when one considers that four of the six key linemen are on this list.

Weak-Side Defensive End

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    No. 1: Matt Roth, 2001-04

    "Two words: Iowa Hawkeye Pride"

    Roth came to Iowa as a linebacker, a position he insisted on playing, even though most teams recruited him as a defensive end. He played as a true freshman linebacker, but after seeing limited opportunities in the back seven, he moved to the line, and the rest is history.

    As a backup end in 2002, he led the team in sacks with 10. He became a starter in 2003 and finished with 12 sacks.

    In 2004, Roth finished fourth in the Big Ten in sacks (eight) and tallied 15 tackles for loss (TFL).

     

    No. 2: Adrian Clayborn, 2008-2011

    Clayborn came to the Hawks as a highly recruited St. Louis defensive end. After redshirting his first year on campus, Clayborn became a backup as a freshman.

    He earned the starting role his second year and had a strong season as one of the leaders of the conference's top defense.

    He exploded in his junior year, finishing the season with 70 tackles, 20 TFL and 11.5 sacks. He earned the Orange Bowl MVP honor, tallying nine tackles, two TFL and two sacks.

    His senior year, much like the Hawks' 2010 fortunes, weren't quite as impressive as fans hoped, but he was still drafted in the first round by Tampa Bay.

Strong-Side Defensive End

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    No. 1: Broderick Binns, 2007-2011

    Binns came to Iowa as a lightly recruited linebacker out of St. Paul. He finished his career as the best strong-side defensive end of the Ferentz era.

    Binns was most known for swatting down passes with his gangly arms.

    In 2009, he led all Big Ten defensive linemen with nine passes blocked. In 2011, he led all defensive linemen in the country with eight passes blocked.

    He also finished his career with 16 sacks and 32 TFL.

     

    No. 2: Christian Ballard, 2007-2010

    Ballard came to Iowa as a highly recruited tight end, but he quickly switched to defensive line, where he played both defensive tackle and strong-side defensive end.

    Ballard didn't record overwhelming stats—12.5 sacks and 21.5 TFL—but he was consistent and did the job of a strong-side defensive end—he took on and took out blockers.

Three-Technique Defensive Tackle

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    Nos. 1: Mitch King, 2004-08

    King came to Iowa as a linebacker. He redshirted his first year and then surprised a lot of Iowa fans by popping up as the starting defensive tackle at the beginning of the 2005 season.

    Needless to say, King—and the entire undersized, inexperienced defensive line—got pushed around, but he began to assert himself as the year progressed.

    He had a breakout year in 2006, amassing seven sacks and 14 TFL.

    King was never one to accumulate a ton of stats, and three of his four seasons as a starter were during what some would call the down years of the Ferentz era.

    Nonetheless, by his senior year, a number of teams triple-teamed the Burlington native, and he, along with running mate Matt Kroul, were the key part of the No. 9 rush defense in the country.

     

    Nos. 2: Jonathan Babineaux, 2000-04

    The native of Port Arthur, Texas, came to Iowa as a fullback and played in his true freshman year, starting three games.

    As a sophomore, he switched to defensive line, but broke his leg at the end of the spring drills and wound up redshirting.

    In his third year, he earned a starting spot as a strong-side defensive end, where he totaled seven sacks and nine TFL.

    He moved to defensive tackle as a junior, but lost much of the year to another injury.

    However, he had a huge senior year, recording 11 sacks and leading the Big Ten with 25 TFL.

One Technique Defensive Tackle

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    No. 1: Colin Cole, 1999-2002

    Cole has proven to be a rarity on Iowa's defensive line—a defensive tackle who weighed over 300 pounds.

    He came to Iowa via Florida, and played as a true freshman. He served as a backup through his sophomore year and moved into the starting lineup as a junior.

    Over the course of his career, he played strong-side defensive end and both one- and three-technique tackle.

    It was a testament to his versatility that he could fill in where needed.

    As a senior, he was first-team All-Big Ten and was voted onto various All-American second-team squads.

     

    No. 2: Matt Kroul, 2004-08

    Kroul was the classic Ferentz one-technique tackle—do all the dirty work and let everybody else get all the credit.

    In four years as a starter, the Mount Vernon farm boy picked up 238 tackles, seven sacks and 19.5 TFL, but as previously mentioned, he, along with King, were the lynchpins to the 2008 defense.

    Kroul has since gone on to become an offensive lineman for the New York Jets.

         

Weak-Side Linebacker

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    No. 1: Chad Greenway, 2001-05

    Greenway came to the Hawkeyes as a safety from South Dakota eight-man football. After redshirting as a freshman, he was a key special teams player in his second year on campus.

    As a sophomore, he supplanted an incumbent starter and never looked back.

    Greenway was a prototypical Ferentz weak-side linebacker—he had a nose for the ball, but was fast enough to cover slot receivers.

    He finished his Iowa career fifth in career tackles with 416 stops. His 156 tackles in 2005 ranks as third-highest single-season total at Iowa.

     

    No. 2: Mike Humpal, 2003-07

    Humpal had the unfortunate task of trying to fill Greenway's shoes. After backing up both the weak-side and strong-side linebackers for his first three seasons on campus, Humpal took over the starting strong-side spot in 2006.

    He moved to the weak side towards the end of 2006 and stayed there in 2007.

    He was never quite Chad Greenway, but with 124 tackles as a senior, he was good enough to get noticed by the Pittsburgh Steelers who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2008 NFL draft.

Middle Linebacker

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    No. 1: Pat Angerer, 2005-09

    Angerer is a lesson in the importance of holding onto players for the duration of their careers.

    In the spring of 2008, after battling injuries and seeing minimal playing time, Angerer considered quitting football.

    Nevertheless, he hung around, won the starting middle linebacker job and paced the Hawkeye defense in 2008 and 2009—both top-10 scoring defenses.

    He ranks 25th in career tackles with 258, and his 145 tackles in 2009 ranks fifth-best for a single season.

     

    No. 2: Abdul Hodge, 2001-05

    Hodge's story follows Greenway's to some degree, except Hodge came to Iowa from the highly competitive world of south Florida football.

    Hodge's 453 career tackles ranks third among Hawkeyes, and his 158 total tackles in 2005 ranks second best at Iowa for a single season.

Strong-Side Linebacker

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    No. 1: A.J. Edds, 2006-09

    Edds came to Iowa as a tight end, but quickly switched to linebacker. He burned his redshirt in his first year on campus, serving as the backup strong-side linebacker.

    He moved into the starting role as a sophomore and finished his career with 226 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks and an especially impressive seven interceptions.

     

    No. 2: Tyler Nielsen, 2007-11

    Nielsen served as Edds' protege for three years, and when his time came to shine, he didn't disappoint.

    He endured a number of injuries in his two years as a starter, missing the end of his junior season with a broken neck.

    Also, as a senior, he moved between the strong side and the middle.

Cornerbacks

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    Nos. 1: Amari Spievey, 2006, 2008-09; Charles Godfrey, 2004-07

    Spievey redshirted his first year on campus, before academic troubles forced him to spend a year in junior college.

    He came back in 2008 and quickly assumed the starting position.

    Stats aren't telling with cornerbacks, because, if said cornerback is doing his job right, then you won't notice him. Nonetheless, Spievey earned All-Big Ten honors in 2009, before opting to forgo his senior season for the NFL.

    Godfrey was a two-year starter for the Hawks. Unfortunately, his best years corresponded with a couple of down years for Iowa, but Godfrey did well enough to get drafted in the third round by the Carolina Panthers.

     

    Nos. 2: Bradley Fletcher, 2004-2008; Jovon Johnson, 2002-05

    Fletcher played sparingly his first three seasons, before he became the full-time starter midway through his junior year. He took full advantage of the opportunity and left Iowa with five picks in his one and a half years as the top cornerback.

    Johnson was thrown into action as a true freshman, but he got better and better as his career progressed. He graduated Iowa tied for third with 17 career interceptions, one short of the record.

    He is currently in the Canadian Football League, where he won (via GoErie.com) the CFL's 2011 Defensive Player of the Year.

Free Safety

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    No. 1: Sean Considine, 2000-04

    Considine walked onto the Hawks, and after serving as a special teams demon for the first two years of his career, he took over at free safety.

    He finished his career with three interceptions and four blocked punts and has enjoyed a long NFL career.

     

    No. 2: Derek Pagel, 1998-2002

    Pagel followed much the same path as Considine, only Pagel walked that path first.

    He walked on, played mostly on special teams in his first two seasons, and then became the starting free safety, going on to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors and get drafted by the New York Jets.

Strong Safety

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    No. 1: Bob Sanders, 1999-2003

    At 5'8", Bob Sanders had to play with a chip on his shoulder. One could argue that chip has not only been the secret of his success, but also of his downfall, as he has suffered through injuries through both his college and pro career.

    When healthy, Sanders might have been the hardest-hitting Hawkeye of all time, regardless of position.

    In his three, injury-plagued years, he earned three All-Big Ten awards, while racking up 348 tackles, which ranks seventh on Iowa's career tackle list.

     

    No. 2: Tyler Sash, 2006-10

    Sash was nowhere near as effective as Sanders in run support, but he was a ball hawk.

    In three years as a Hawkeye, he totaled 13 interceptions.

    He had 11 picks following his sophomore season and was well on his way to eclipsing the Iowa career record, but two things happened. Firstly, quarterbacks stopped throwing the ball near him, and secondly, he opted to go pro following his junior year.

Punter

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    No. 1: Ryan Donahue, 2006-10

    Donahue has the dubious honor of holding the Hawkeye record for most punts in a season with 86 in 2007.

    That year, the failures of the offense fell to his leg, but he learned on the fly and finished his career as one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award.

     

    No. 2: Jason Baker, 1997-2000

    Baker holds the other dubious honor of being the Hawkeyes' all-time leader with 272 punts. His other record of 11,304 punting yards is unquestionably impressive.

    He has enjoyed and continues to enjoy an impressive pro career.

Kicker

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    No. 1: Nate Kaeding, 2000-03

    After a shaky start to his collegiate career that saw him hit 14-of-22 and 12-of-16 field goal attempts, Kaedo caught fire during his junior year.

    In his final two seasons, he hit 41-of-45. As a junior, he won the Lou Groza Award as college football's best kicker.

     

    No. 2: Kyle Schlicher, 2002-06

    Schlicher had the unfortunate distinction of replacing Nate Kaeding.

    He began his career hitting an impressive 21-of-26 field goal attempts in the insane 2004 season.

    He didn't finish his career quite as well due to injuries, but he does have the distinction of being the last Iowa kicker to hit more than 80 percent of his field goal attempts in a season until Mike Meyer did it in 2010.