Tall defensive linemen, Instagram, and medical school for Iowa football

Iowa’s Parker Hesse, Nate Stanley, and Matt Nelson had some time at the podium on July 24 in Chicago, and they touched on a wide range of topics.


Nick Rohlman

Iowa defensive end Parker Hesse addresses the media during Big Ten Football Media Days in Chicago on Tuesday, July 24, 2018. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

CHICAGO ​— Iowa’s defensive line is deep, and it’s tall, too.

The Hawkeye defense boasts the Nelson duo. Anthony, a redshirt junior from Urbandale, stands 6-7, while Matt, a senior from Cedar Rapids, stands 6-8.

And then there’s Parker Hesse. The senior is 6-3, which is tall by non-football-player standards.

“I am frequently bullied in the D-line room just because we’ve got all these freaks — I mean, it’s like 6-7, 6-7, 6-6 — anywhere else I go in life, I’m taller than everyone, but then I get there, and I’m a midget,” he joked.

All kidding aside, arm length can be crucial for a defensive lineman. The longer the arms, the better a player can get separation from his opponent.

“Whether it be pass rush or playing the run, can be a huge advantage,” Hesse said. “I know the guys who have that length, they use it really well, and it’s really frustrating for offensive players. So, if I could borrow a few inches on my arms, that would be awesome.”

Hesse, along with the rest of the defensive line, knows the potential is there for Iowa to have one of its most disruptive seasons in recent memory.

In 2017, Anthony Nelson led Iowa with 7.5 sacks. Then-freshman A.J. Epenesa tallied 4.5, and Hesse followed with 4. In total, 22.5 of Iowa’s 29 sacks last season came from defensive linemen, and all but one of the members of the D-line return this year.

Sacks are the goal, as Hesse said, but there is no set number for how many he or the rest of the defensive line want to record. There are other ways to measure just how powerful a D-line is.

“In the Big Ten, we’re traditional, we run the ball,” he said. “But as the game becomes more and more offense, slinging it, sacks are a premium. You see that in the NFL.

“There are a lot of things in our defense. Playing defensive line, playing blocks, taking on double teams, freeing up linebackers — stuff like that is extremely important to the way we do things, and it’s our job, each and every one of us in the room, to make sure we take care of our roles.”

Instagram, Nate Stanley. Nate Stanley, Instagram.

Iowa’s quarterback isn’t big into social media. Nate Stanley has never had a Twitter account, and while he did have a Facebook profile, he deleted it during his junior year of high school.

But thanks to some good old fashioned peer pressure, Stanley caved at his friends’ requests and created an Instagram account this summer.

The visual aspect of Instagram is what lured the junior to join.

“I never really understood [Twitter],” he said. “With Instagram, you can see pictures and stuff. I mean, you can post pictures and stuff on Twitter, but it’s mostly just words. I think it’s cool when you can actually see what people are doing instead of just read it.”

Matt Nelson, M.D.?

In Chicago, Matt Nelson talked about his love for the medical field. His coaches have raved about just how smart he is, but he opened up about why he chose to dive into the field.

“When I was younger, my grandpa had Parkinson’s, and he was kind of inspiration for me to go into the medical field,” Nelson said. “Seeing something like that to a person you love so much, it really kind of drives you to go forward in the medical field, and then after that, my love for science just kind of pushed me in that direction.”

Medical school is on his radar, but he doesn’t have a set on where to apply.

“Wherever will take me right now,” he said and laughed. “I’m working on my applications. I haven’t really set in stone where I want to apply to, but there are a few places in mind.”

Nelson said that he’d hear back from schools in spring around the time of Iowa’s Pro Day.

Facebook Comments