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Iowa cornerback Manny Rugamba

Five Iowa players worth monitoring in spring practice, wrestling gets pinned by Penn State in recruiting and more

The best way to start your day is right here at as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.

So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Wednesday, March 22.

Who to watch in Iowa’s football

Iowa football is back. It may only be spring football and no games are on the horizon for 5-plus months, but some football is better than no football. Even if it only comes to the general public in the form of an open practice and spring game. There is plenty in spring drills worthy of a fan’s attention.

Here are five names the Breakfast Club will keep an eye on for various reasons at Iowa this spring.

  • QB Nathan Stanley

Iowa needs a quarterback. Stanley is the front-runner, even if it’s an open competition. Quarterback play, both great and bad, can alter the outcome of a season. Why Stanley is on this list should be pretty obvious.

  • CB Manny Rugamba

Rugamba showed plenty of promise as a true freshman, recording 19 tackles with 4 pass breakups and 2 interceptions while playing primarily out of the slot. He missed the final 2 games because of a shoulder injury.

But his recovery isn’t what is worth your attention — he should be healed for the spring, let alone the regular season. The intrigue here is in how much growth Rugamba makes. The Hawkeyes will break in two new starters at cornerback. Rugamba is penciled in as one of them. Every team is looking for a shutdown corner. Desmond King won’t be that player anymore. Can Rugamba be? It’s a question worth monitoring.

  • WR Jerminic Smith

Some players need time to develop and don’t start making an impact until they become upperclassmen. It’s a common tale for a developmental program such as Iowa. And that leads us to Smith, a returning starter entering his junior year.

Will this be how Smith’s career plays out? Was he was one year away from being what Iowa needed him to do last season? The spring could provide the answer.

  • S Brandon Snyder

Coaches love Snyder. He started all 13 games last season.

Analytics, however, don’t. Pro Football Focus grades weren’t kind to him.

There is a middle ground between the two camps. It starts with improved pass defense.

Iowa’s safeties weren’t the strength of the defense last season, but Snyder improved late in the season and was a part of the defensive resurgence in November. Can he build off of it in his junior season?

  • TE Peter Pekar

Pekar, a senior, carved out a role as a blocker last season. He starts spring atop the depth chart. Iowa needs weapons in the passing game. Can he become more of a threat as a receiver?

Wrestling de-commitment

Iowa wrestling suffered another loss to Penn State on Tuesday. Gavin Teasdale, the No. 2 recruit in the Class of 2018, de-committed from the Hawkeyes and plans to suit up for the Nittany Lions, according to FloWrestling.

Teasdale is a three-time Pennsylvania high school state champion. Pulling in a recruit from Penn State’s backyard appeared to be a major coup for Iowa. Now, the Hawkeyes will look to fortify their 2018 class elsewhere.

Greatest Iowa Basketball Player Update

Land of 10 is trying to figure out who the best Iowa basketball player ever is. Readers are voting each day in the latest bracket matchup.

The second round is well underway with four players going head-to-head each day, two advancing from each matchup to the Sweet 16. Let’s recap the first four days of matchups.

On Day 1 Ronnie Lester and Jarrod Uthoff defeated Sam Williams and Dick Ives. Roy Marble and Greg Stokes advanced from Day 2 while Dean Oliver and Vince Brookings were eliminated. On Day 3, B.J. Armstrong and Chris Street knocked off Murray Weir and Bobby Hansen. Don Nelson and John Johnson beat Devyn Marble and Kevin Kunnert on Day 4.

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