Orange Bowl - Iowa v Georgia Tech

You'll find out quickly that we have a bit of a man crush on Adrian Clayborn.  And lord knows we have reason to.  The 6-3, soon to be senior was an animal for the Hawkeye defense, and is the leader of the newly formed band Six Seconds of Hell.   He anchored the defensive line and made us forget the names King and Kroul. 

It's funny how at the beginning of last year, the biggest question surrounding the Hawkeye football camp was how to fill King and Kroul's spots and how will the D-line fair without their leadership?  That question was answered rather quickly with Clayborn's emergence as the emotional leader on and off the field; as well as the terrific play by Karl Klug, Broderick Binns, and Christian Ballard

But on to what I'm really excited about.  We already knew that Adrian's decision to stay at Iowa one more year was going to solidify him as one of the best Defensive Ends in the country.  What we didn't expect was how quickly people would come around to this.  

Mel Kiper Jr. released an insider board filled with the best returning juniors in the country.  Sitting on top of a stellar defensive end list is Adrian Clayborn.  He is the smallest DE in height (6-3, 282 lbs) on the list, but nontheless he is the king predator.  Kiper's Top 5:

  1. Adrian Clayborn (Iowa) 6-3, 282 lbs.
  2. Allen Baily (Miami) 6-6, 288 lbs.
  3. Greg Romeus (Pitt) 6-6 270 lbs.
  4. Cameron Heyward (Ohio State) 6-6, 287 lbs.
  5. Ryan Kerrigan (Purdue) 6-4, 263 lbs.

Quite the list to be on. 

It seems that ESPN and other members of the sporting media are finally jumping on the Iowa bandwagon and the exciting play of Clayborn is part of the reason.  After giving the team zero credit for most of the 2009 season the win over Georgia Tech really raised some eyebrows.  These bandwagon members have even gone as far as penceling Iowa into the National Championship game against Alabama.  A nerve wrecking thought for Hawkeye nation.

If that isn't enough, Iowa's Heisman hopeful Ryan Donahue is also ranked number one in Kiper's top returning punters.  It's about time he gets a little recognition for the golden leg he has.

I'm happy for Clayborn, Donahue, their teammates, and most importantly the coaching staff.  They have done one hell of a job creating a hard-nosed, tough, and exciting football team. Ferentz has always been a stand up guy, and is often humerous with his reserved and delightfully tacky manner. But one thing is for sure, he gets the most out of his players better than any other coach in college football. 

With all of that said, there is only 196 days left until kickoff and with everyday I get more excited.  On Iowa!