Heading into 2010, Iowa's defensive line was supposed to be one of the best in the country. It returned All-American defensive end Adrian Clayborn, defensive tackle Christian Ballard, defensive tackle Karl Klug and defensive end Broderick Binns.
However, the rotation bounced around more than expected last season, including Mike Daniels, who won a starting job by the end of the season.
Many fans and writers criticized the line for underachieving last season, but regardless, will lose loads of talent with the departures of Clayborn, Ballard and Klug. That leaves the outlook for next season unclear.
Binns, Daniels, and Lebron Daniel, who received playing time this year as well, should all have starting jobs locked up. However, the last starting spot and backup roles are unclear.
Right now, the 2011 recruiting class doesn't seem to hold the answer for next year's line.
Iowa has only two verbal commitments from defensive linemen Riley McMinn and John Raymon, who both have tremendous upsides, but will need to put on some weight before being ready to compete in the Big Ten.
The Hawkeyes are a finalist for Darian Cooper, a 4-star defensive tackle from Hyattsville, MD, who could certainly come in and help out right away.
Until National Signing Day, Iowa's defensive line situation will remain a mystery, and even if Cooper commits, he isn't guaranteed a starting spot when the season kicks off. However, he certainly seems to have the tools to help the Hawkeyes complete a young defensive line.