IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa offensive line coach Brian Ferentz spent last spring trying to temper enthusiasm for Brandon Scherff.
“I feel differently about him a year later,” Ferentz said Wednesday of the 6-foot-5, 315-pound all-Big Ten left tackle who passed on the 2014 NFL Draft to return to Iowa for his senior season.
This from a coach who’s never subscribed to hyperbole.
“I will share my love letter to Brandon Scherff with you guys now,” Ferentz told reporters Wednesday. “Because if this guy doesn’t get recognized for what he is moving forward, I think it would be a real travesty. There’s not a better offensive lineman in college football. That’s my opinion. And I think you guys know that I don’t say things like that lightly. That’s coming from his coach, but coming from an objective place.”
Scherff’s sophomore season ended after seven games, when he injured his right leg and had surgery. He was a rock on Iowa’s offensive line last season. He was a first-team all-Big Ten pick of coaches. Media voted him to the second team. Michigan’s Taylor Lewan was voted Big Ten offensive lineman of the year.
“In my opinion, he was the best offensive lineman in our conference last year,” Ferentz said. “And I got a chance to see, through bowl preparation, some tape of some other very good offensive linemen in the SEC, and I would have stacked him up against any of those guys. I know NFL guys do work and they care about certain things, and I understand that, the draft process. But in my estimation he was certainly one of the best football players in the country last year. I don’t know if he received the proper recognition for that. I would expect him to this year.”
Ferentz said it’s time for Scherff to get what he deserves.
“If he doesn’t, I don’t know what people are watching or what they value or what’s important,” Ferentz said. “But he does everything right. He plays football the way it’s supposed to be played.”
Reese Morgan recruited Scherff out of Denison and was his offensive line coach in the 2011 season.
“Brandon is a special guy,” said Morgan, who slid to defensive line coach in 2012.
A lot of guys who skip the draft might come back more concerned about not getting hurt instead of getting better, Morgan said. That’s not an issue with Scherff, who has had some heated battles with defensive end Drew Ott and others in practice.
“Every rep he’s doing, he’s trying to go 100 percent, trying to push guys,” Morgan said.
Ferentz said that Scherff needs to improve in several areas to become a complete player, but he looks to be Iowa’s next first-round draft pick.
Scherff would follow the steps of recent Hawkeye offensive linemen to the NFL, such as Super Bowl champions Marshal Yanda and Bryan Bulaga, plus Riley Reiff, Robert Gallery, Bruce Nelson and Eric Steinbach.
“How does he compare to those guys? I don’t know,” Ferentz said. “They’re all really good. I’d take them all. Now he’s got to live up to all that, I’ll throw that disclaimer out there. That’s a part of the challenge he has right now.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football