Sam LaPorta

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

A native of Highland, Illinois, Sam LaPorta not only looks the part of Iowa football’s next great tight end, he is the Hawkeyes’ heir to the tight-end throne.

LaPorta is listed at 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 249 pounds — not dissimilar to Iowa tight ends past.

While at Iowa, T.J. Hockenson clocked in at 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 230 pounds. George Kittle was 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 210 pounds while he was at Iowa. Noah Fant was 6 feet, 5 inches tall and 220 pounds as a Hawkeye.

Physical prowess aside, LaPorta also proved he is more than capable of contributing on the field. He was one of just eight true freshmen to take the field for Iowa in 2019. He participated in 12 of Iowa’s 13 games, missing one due to injury.

While LaPorta only corralled 15 passes for 188 yards in total last season, a late-season surge seems to suggest that bigger things truly are coming in 2020.

LaPorta remarkably earned two starts, despite being listed behind veterans Nate Wieting and Shaun Beyer on the depth chart.

At Northwestern’s Ryan Field on Oct. 26, LaPorta caught two passes, one of which was good for 41 yards. Against Nebraska on Nov. 29, LaPorta’s late 22-yard connection with now-alum quarterback Nate Stanley set kicker Keith Duncan up for a game-winning field goal.

Most impressively, LaPorta’s best performance of the year came on the biggest stage the Hawkeyes played on in 2019. LaPorta hauled in six passes for 44 yards in Iowa’s 49-24 route of the University of Southern California in the Holiday Bowl.

LaPorta was named to the John Mackey Award preseason Watch List ahead of his upcoming 2020 campaign.

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