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Left tackle Brandon Scherff was playing as well as any lineman in the Big Ten before he broke his leg in the seventh game of the season. He missed the remainder of the year, but according to Steve Batterson of the Quad City Times, he is expected to be medically cleared for spring practices.
Junior Brett Van Sloten had a quietly solid year at right tackle. He wasn't as dominant as Scherff, but another strong year could put him into the late rounds of the 2014 NFL draft.
The Hawks have a lot of experience to play with at the inside positions.
Sophomore Andrew Donnal had three starts at right guard and was beginning to come into his own before he twisted his ankle two plays after Scherff went down. He missed the rest of the season but is also expected to be cleared for the spring.
Redshirt freshman Austin Blythe grabbed the other nine starts at right guard, and he played like a freshman. Next year will be an opportunity for him to take the next step.
Conor Boffeli will be a senior in 2013. He finally saw playing time last year, starting the final three games at left guard. He spent the previous two seasons as a constant presence on the depth chart.
Nolan MacMillan will also be a senior. He started the first six games of 2010 at right guard before an injury ended his year. He then spent 2011 on the injured list before coming back last year. He looked rusty in limited appearances, but he will push for playing time if he can get back into shape.
Finally, redshirt freshman Jordan Walsh didn't gain any starts, but he did see a good deal of playing time in 2012.
Donnal, Blythe, Boffeli, MacMillan and Walsh will contend for the guard spots, while Blythe, Boffeli and JUCO transfer Eric Simmons will compete for center.
In short, with the talent in the backfield and up front, the Hawkeyes will have the raw materials to field one of the best rushing games in the Big Ten.