The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Hawkeyes Wake-Up Call here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is your Wake-Up Call for Friday, Feb. 10.
Weight loss and a football all-star game
Dropping 37 pounds for wrestling wasn’t easy for Iowa offensive tackle signee Tristan Wirfs. The fact Wirfs played in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January only made things more complicated.
Wirfs hit 285 pounds just before Christmas, but wanted to pack on a few pounds before heading to Texas for the bowl practice and game played on Jan. 7.
That meant altering his wrestling diet and having to go through the entire weight-loss program again. His wrestling coaches tried to tell him he didn’t need to go to the bowl at his usual football weight, well north of 300 pounds.
“He was worried about playing in the Army Bowl and how much he was going to weigh there,” Mount Vernon (Iowa) High School wrestling coach Vance Light said. “We tried to explain to him you are already going to the University of Iowa. When you get there (Iowa director of strength and conditioning) Chris Doyle will get you where he wants you to be because he is pretty darn good at his job.”
Wirfs already had the scholarship offer, but he still felt a need to prove himself. He didn’t routinely face 4- and 5-star defensive ends. He wanted to show he could match up.
So Wirfs ate during the holiday break. He kept eating once in Texas and checked in at 310 pounds. He figured he would pay for it, like he did when putting on weight during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Upon returning from the bowl game, he headed to Light’s house to step on the scales. He feared the worst. He never even imagined the number that appeared.
Wirfs weighed 299.
“That is nice,” Wirfs said, “but I just thought I was going to be way heavier.”
It turns out his body needed all the food — his bowl week included two-a-day practices. If he didn’t replace the calories he used up, he doesn’t think he would have survived the week.
“I really wasn’t sitting around,” Wirfs said. “I was always doing something at the bowl.”
The underrated Hawkeye
Rivals’ Mike Farrell released a list of the most underrated 3-star prospects in the 2017 class, and the list included Iowa running back signee Kyshaun Bryan.
Farrell mentioned that Iowa running backs are usually under the radar. That’s going to be the case for a program that doesn’t typically bring in 4-star prospects at the position. He also wondered if Bryan will have a better college career than Eno Benjamin, the 4-star prospect who de-committed from the Hawkeyes in October.
That’s a great question. And, yes, Bryan (or fellow 2017 running back Ivory Kelly-Martin) must put together a strong career if Iowa fans are to forget about Benjamin.
The best of the best
Pro Football Focus named the top 101 players in the NFL for this past season and three former Hawkeyes were included.
Baltimore OL Marshal Yanda came in No. 7 overall. It was another strong season from one of the best linemen in the NFL, as Yanda allowed just six quarterback hurries in 13 games this season and, as PFF noted, “didn’t allow his QB to hit the ground,” all season.
Green Bay DL Mike Daniels was No. 68. He recorded 43 total quarterback pressures in 2016.
Green Bay OT Bryan Bulaga ranked No. 77. He was beat decisively on only 1.7 percent of his pass-blocking attempts, according to PFF.
Where will King or Johnson go?
Sports Illustrated released its latest three-round NFL mock draft this week and it had two Hawkeyes going in the draft’s first two days.
CB Desmond King was projected to go to Philadelphia at No. 43 overall (second round) while DT Jaleel Johnson went six picks later to Washington.