Iowa football’s Coy Cronk ready for his homecoming

Coy Cronk, who transferred into the Iowa football program from Indiana this season, will play his first game as a Hawkeye near where he grew up.

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Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa quarterback Nate Stanley prepares for a play during a football game between Iowa and Rutgers at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, September 7, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Scarlet Knights, 30-0.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter


Coy Cronk will take his first game snaps in a Hawkeye uniform on Saturday in a venue that’s very familiar to him.

A graduate transfer from Indiana, Cronk has started 40 Big Ten games and is replacing Tristan Wirfs as Iowa’s starting right tackle. Cronk grew up in Lafayette, Indiana, only miles away from the Purdue campus, where Iowa plays in Week 1.

Even though the conference has decided not to allow fans in the stands for any games this season, and his family can’t join him at Ross-Ade Stadium this weekend, Cronk is excited to have his hometown’s support in his team debut.

“I take a lot of pride from where I’m from,” Cronk said during a video conference Tuesday. “I really love Lafayette, everything the community has done, everything we do for the community, it’s really tight-knit.”

Cronk officially transferred to Iowa from Indiana in January.

The 6-foot-5, 305-pounder described the decision to leave Indiana as a difficult one, and said he still has a lot of respect for that program. The opportunity to play on the offensive line at Iowa — a school known for producing linemen to the NFL — was too much to pass up.

Although he was never offered a scholarship by Purdue out of high school and didn’t look to transfer there this offseason, Cronk likes what he’s seen from the Boilermakers’ head coach Jeff Brohm — who will not be patrolling the Purdue sideline this week as he tested positive for COVID-19 — as he has started to turn the program around.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for coach Brohm,” Cronk said. “What he’s been able to do these last three or four seasons, just the way he has brought a lot of excitement back into the Lafayette community. People are really excited about football again which, kind of, was lost there for several years. It’s exciting to come back to Lafayette. I love being there. I’m really excited and Purdue’s got a good team so hopefully it’s a great game.”

As Brohm enters his fourth year at Purdue, his team has made two bowl appearances in his first three seasons at the helm. Last year was somewhat of a down year for the Boilermakers, as the team was hampered by injuries to important players. Purdue finished just 4-8 last season.

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Joining Cronk in making his first appearance for Iowa on Saturday will be defensive lineman Jack Heflin.

Heflin is another grad transfer but while Cronk stayed in the Big Ten, Heflin came from a MAC team, Northern Illinois.

Through his first months on Iowa’s campus, the Prophetstown, Illinois, native has adjusted to playing for a Power Five program.

“It’s been life-changing for sure,” Heflin said. “It’s completely different than where I was. The stuff you get from being at a Big Ten school there are more resources. Coming into Iowa City brought in with open arms by every single player in the locker room, by all the coaches. I’ve gotten along great with everyone.

“I’ve had the time of my life. I’m just soaking it all in as I can because I don’t have that much time to be here. It was a dream come true for me to be a Hawkeye and so it’s kind of surreal. I pinch myself every day.”

Although he is listed as the second-string defensive left tackle behind junior Daviyon Nixon on the Week 1 depth chart, Heflin is expected to see heavy playing time for the Hawkeyes.

Both transfers will bring the intensity in their first Hawkeye game, one trying to pressure the quarterback, one trying to protect him.

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