The Iowa Hawkeyes will enjoy some excellent depth at key positions in 2013, particularly on defense at linebacker. Kirk Ferentz will get all three starters back in what should be the strength of the Iowa defense next fall. He doesn’t have that same luxury in his secondary, however, as a thin group without much experience will lean on cornerback B.J. Lowery to hold the group together.
Lowery comes back for his senior season after recording 50 tackles and in interception in 2012. He will have to step to replace the lost production of Micah Hyde, who won the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year award before being selected in the fifth–round of last month’s NFL Draft. The secondary will also miss the talents of Greg Castillo who tied for the team lead in interceptions last season with two before graduating.
That leaves Lowery as the most experienced member of the secondary heading into next season and the best option to step up as a leader. He has responded to the challenge this spring, intimidating the Iowa quarterbacks, all vying for the starting job, from throwing his direction for most of the scrimmages. During the spring game, he proved why that had been a good idea, as he came away with an interceptions and three passes defended in the Black-and-Gold game.
But beyond Lowery, the Hawkeyes are still searching for answers. They need someone to step up this summer at the other corner position and some depth to develop behind them before they’ll be equipped to lock down Big Ten offenses next season. Without Lowery, however, they have no shot at all.