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NCAA Football Big 10 FootballIowa Hawkeyes

Iowa Hawkeyes’ Key Players and Newcomers for 2013

Mark Weisman Iowa Hawkeyes

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

2012 was a season many Iowa Hawkeye fans would like to forget ever happened, as the team finished 2-6 in Big Ten conference play and 4-8 overall. This bad season continued a recent downslope for the Hawkeye program ever since the 2010 Orange Bowl win over Georgia Tech.

Inconsistency on both sides of the ball was a major contributor to the teams overall struggles, especially on the offensive side of the ball, as the team lacked the star power and play-making ability to consistently score in close games.

The position of focus will be on the offensive side of the ball, and perhaps the biggest newcomer and key player will be whoever wins the quarterback battle out of Jake Rudock, C.J. Beathard and Cody Sokol. There will be a lot of pressure on whomever is the quarterback to make smart decisions and limit turnovers.

One key player on the offense will be senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz, who will look to provide a security blanket for whoever the new quarterback will be.

The other key player for the offense will be center Austin Blythe. Blythe is a solid lineman and looks to be the leader of the line coming into 2013.

On the defensive side of the ball, outside linebacker Anthony Hitchens returns as the leading tackler overall in conference play last season. He returns with an all-senior linebacking crew that will have great experience.

Another key player to watch on the defensive side of the ball is cornerback Jordan Lomax, who looks to replace the production of longtime starter Micah Hyde. Teams are going to go at Lomax early to see how ready he is to be a Big Ten corner.

Some key newcomers to watch will be freshman running back LeShun Daniels, who will look to come in and compete for playing time in a thin Hawkeye backfield.

Also watch out for junior college transfer Damond Powell to add depth to the Iowa receiving group and cornerback Desmond King to possibly compete for playing time in the secondary.

Erik Sargent is a college football writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Erik_Sargent, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.