Congratulations LB Anthony Hitchens; Selected by the Dallas Cowboys

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The Dallas Cowboys selected Iowa Hawkeye OLB Anthony Hitchens in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  Hitchens, who is from Ohio, was named the team’s Defensive MVP in 2013.  He was also named 2nd Team All-Big Ten by the coaches in 2013.  Hitchens played alongside LBs James Morris and Christian Kirksey throughout his career at Iowa.  The trio was arguably the best linebacking corps in the Big Ten, if not the nation.

Hitchens probably played his best game of 2013 against Michigan at Kinnick Stadium.  In the Wolverines’ final drive, he forced a fumble on Michigan QB Devin Gardner as the Wolverines were driving into Hawkeye territory to preserve the victory for Iowa.  For more information on Hitchens, visit Hawkeyesports.com .

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Anthony Hitchens celebrates stopping Nebraska on a 4th down situation in the game against the Cornhuskers at Kinnick Stadium in 2012.

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LB Anthony Hitchens makes the stop on Northern Illinois QB Jordan Lynch in 2013.

 

Hawkeye Senior LB Anthony Hitchens is all smiles following Iowa's victory against Minnesota in 2013.

Hawkeye Senior LB Anthony Hitchens is all smiles following Iowa’s victory against Minnesota in 2013.

 

Congratulations OLB Christian Kirksey; Selected by the Cleveland Browns

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The Iowa sideline explodes as Hawkeye LB Christian Kirksey picks up the forced fumble and runs in for the touchdown against Northern Illinois in 2013.

The Cleveland Browns selected Iowa Hawkeye LB Christian Kirksey with the 7th pick in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft.  Kirksey was one of nine true freshman to play for the Hawkeyes in 2010 and has been a force on the Iowa defense ever since.  Kirksey was named a permanent team captain during his junior and senior years for Iowa.

Kirksey, from St. Louis, played alongside LBs James Morris and Anthony Hitchens in what was arguably the best trio of linebackers in the Big Ten in 2013. Kirksey represented the Hawkeyes in the 2014 Senior Bowl and was named honorable mention by both coaches and media for All-Big Ten in 2013. For more information on Christian Kirksey, visit Hawkeyesports.com .

 

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Wearing Pro Combat uniforms in a game at Kinnick Stadium in 2012, Christian Kirksey pursue the Purdue ballcarrier

Wearing Pro Combat uniforms in a game at Kinnick Stadium in 2012, Christian Kirksey has his sights set on bringing down the Purdue ballcarrier.

 

 

Congratulations TE CJ Fiedorowicz; Selected by the Houston Texans

Hawkeye TE CJ Fiedorowicz stretches to the goal line for a touchdown against Michigan State in 2011.

Iowa Hawkeye TE CJ Fiedorowicz stretches to the goal line for a touchdown against Michigan State in 2011.

The Houston Texans selected Iowa Hawkeye TE CJ Fiedorowicz with the 1st pick of the 3rd Round (pick 65) of the 2014 NFL Draft.  Fiedorowicz, who is from the Chicago area, has been a reliable pass catcher and a big target for Hawkeye quarterbacks throughout his career at Iowa.  The selection of Fiedorowicz continues a long tradition of Hawkeye Tight Ends to be picked in the draft.

Fiedorowicz represented the Hawkeyes in the 2014 Senior Bowl where he was awarded “Most Outstanding Tight End” at the event.  CJ capped a very successful 2013 season by being named first team All-Big Ten by the coaches.  For more information on CJ, visit Hawkeyesports.com .

 

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Derrick Willies Spring Sensation

As Kirk Ferentz was quick to point out to the media after the Iowa Hawkeyes Spring Game on Saturday, redshirt freshman Derrick Willies was the “Spring Sensation”.  I think that is Ferentz’s tongue-in-cheek way of trying to temper expectations of the fans looking to get giddy over the upcoming 2014 season.  But after all we’ve been reading and hearing about Willies, he did nothing but continue to raise the bar for the rest of the young WR corp to leap.  Willies scored the game’s first touchdown on a long 42-yard pass, catch and run where he went to the endzone virtually untouched.  Here are several pics in sequence of Willies’ touchdown and also a series from a catch in which he also shows a mean stiff arm.

Bring on the 2014 Season!  Go Hawks!

The Touchdown Sequence

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The Stiff arm Sequence

I love this sequence of shots.  Willies catches the pass over the flat

I love this sequence of shots. Willies catches the pass over the flat as Ferentz looks on.

..turns towards the sidelines

..turns towards the sidelines

Willies spots Bowers in pursuit..

Willies spots Bower in pursuit..

..delivers the stiff arm

..delivers the stiff arm

...presses forward and backward..

…presses forward and backward..

..and finally gets dragged out of bounds

..and finally gets dragged out of bounds.  Nope, I’m not excited at all.

Iowa Hawkeye Spring Game 2014 Pic Parade

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Iowa Hawkeye fans gathered en masse to check out the Spring edition of Hawkeye football on a beautiful late April Saturday.  I don’t think anyone could’ve left disappointed with what they saw on the field or with the weather.  More likely, most left with a very enthusiastic attitude because of what seems to be newfound depth in the offensive skill positions.  Plus, it’s always fun to see new faces, especially when the become key contributors. The star of the day was clearly Derrick Willies, redshirt freshman WR, who sliced the defensive secondary for a long TD catch and run.  Fans also got to see a lot of No. 2 QB CJ Beathard with the first team offense.  It’s possible that the Hawkeyes are toying with a 2 QB system, which would keep opposing defenses guessing – something Hawk fans will also applaud.  Personally, I am just thankful that we have what seems to be many options to go to – whether its running the ball, passing the ball, or catching the ball.  The only turnover of the day I can recall was the Desmond King pick from an under thrown Beathard pass.  From my amateur eye, the defense also played well.  They didn’t give up the big rushing play, but were certainly challenged on the passing plays.  Jordan Lomax felt the steamroller from TE Ray Hamilton allowing Hamilton to pick up significant yards after catch resulting in a touchdown at the north end of the field.

Here is a folio of images I captured from the day.  Click on any for a larger view.

I’ll be posting some shots I took of key plays, as well, so keep checking back.  Go Hawks!

 

Popular Hawkeye Sportswriter @ScottDochterman to Leave Post

Longtime Cedar Rapids Gazette sportswriter Scott Dochterman will be leaving his post today.  Dochterman has been the lead writer covering Iowa Hawkeye basketball for a number of years and is a very popular journalist amongst Gazette subscribers and Twitter followers alike.  It is not clear what time he is leaving today, probably after 5 p.m., but safe to assume he will be back at his Gazette office tomorrow morning covering all Hawkeye news that is fit to print without skipping a, well, umm, a “beat”.

 

Gazette sportswriters (l to R) Mike Hlas, Marc Morehouse, and Scott Dochterman shown covering a 2014 Iowa Hawkeyes basketball game

Gazette sportswriters (l to R) Mike Hlas, Marc Morehouse, and Scott Dochterman shown covering a 2014 Iowa Hawkeyes basketball game

This post, brought to you by the “Iowa Click it or Ticket” fictional campaign, was inspired by this tweet Dochtermann posted via his Twitter account earlier today: