The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz addresses Kadyn Proctor, NIL, transfer portal

The Hawkeyes started their second week of spring practice and released the first official depth chart.
Grace Smith
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz speaks to media members during a press conference at the Hansen Football Performance Center in Iowa City on Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023. After the University of Iowa’s Interim Athletic Director Beth Goetz said in a statement released on Oct. 30 that she informed offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz that “this is his last season with the program,” Ferentz answered questions from the media about the statement. Ferentz also spoke about Iowa’s game against Northwestern on Nov. 4.

Nothing surprises Iowa football head coach Kirk Ferentz, no matter how much the college football landscape changes. Whether it be the increasing opportunity of NIL, the continuous eligibility from the transfer portal, or the combination of the two trends that may have motivated five-star recruit Kadyn Proctor to leave Iowa City after just two months with the Hawkeyes; Ferentz remains unfazed. 

Somewhere in the first year, my first year being a head coach at the University of Maine, I can’t remember what happened exactly, but I told my wife … ‘If I ever come home and say I’m surprised by anything, just hit me with a baseball bat,” the 68-year-old said with a smile. 

“I try not to get too surprised by anything.” 

When it came to Proctor, Ferentz never called him by name, instead focusing on the positives, such as the offensive tackle choosing to re-enter portal before spring practice had started. As for what Iowa could be missing without the 6-foot-7 sophomore in the trenches, the head coach reiterated that Proctor had never really played in the Black and Gold in the first place. 

“If it does happen, you don’t want a player in the program that doesn’t want to be here,” he said. “If his heart and soul is not into it, it’s not good for him, it’s not good for us, either. We’re his teammates so I think that’s kind of the bottom line.”

Ferentz never offered a critique of Proctor’s actions, but he voiced concerns that while Iowa has benefitted from the transfer portal and NIL in the past,  the two factors might be too much for college football to handle in the future.

In December, the NCAA ruled that all multi-time transfers, such as Proctor, would have immediate eligibility in 2024. Previously, those transfers would have to sit out for a season. 

Despite the sudden loss of Proctor, the Hawkeyes have still benefited from the transfer portal. Just last season, linebacker Nick Jackson and offensive lineman Rusty Feth transferred from Virginia and Miami Ohio, respectively. Both started multiple games down the stretch, with Jackson earning third-team All-Big Ten honors from league media. 

“There’s no structure, no framework, and that part makes it interesting in the fact that I don’t know if it is sustainable,” Ferentz said. “So at some point we’re going to have to be able to have a framework and a mode of operation. It’s just part of the business, I guess, and fortunately we haven’t experienced too many of those types of things.” 

Back in February, the states of Tennessee and Virginia sued the NCAA, arguing that its NIL enforcement with regard to recruitment was a violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. On Feb. 23,  a federal judge granted a preliminary injunction that indefinitely suspended the NCAA’s restrictions on NIL. 

Similar to the portal, Ferentz said he has nothing against NIL, lauding Iowa’s NIL collective, The Swarm, but added that NIL has become a “key differentiator” for recruitment. The fear he has for NIL is it could possibly create a world of “haves and haves not,” which would only make games uncompetitive. 

Offensive updates 

Iowa football will have a new offensive coordinator for the first time in six years in former Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester. While Ferentz noted the difficulty of Lester introducing new language and terminology, he said the Hawkeyes would be “taking [Lester’s] playbook material and going with it.” 

Running Lester’s offense will be starting quarterback Cade McNamara, who is listed as the top guy at his position in the spring depth chart. He’s ahead of No. 2 Deacon Hill and third-stringer Marco Lainez. McNamara is coming off a season-ending ACL injury he suffered in Week 5, and Ferentz gave an update on his recovery process.

“He’s limited right now,” Ferentz said of McNamara. “He can throw the football standing, but he can’t be really moving back, moving around or dropping, that type of deal. I have a harness on him because he’s always anxious to do a little bit more than what he probably should.”

The head coach projected June as the target for when McNamara should be back to 100 percent. 

Other noticeable features on the depth chart included only two running backs listed in Leshon Williams and Kaleb Johnson, but Ferentz didn’t lend much credence to the chart so early on in the preseason. 

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About the Contributors
Matt McGowan
Matt McGowan, Pregame Editor
he/him/his Matt McGowan is The Daily Iowan's Pregame Editor. He is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and mass communications and American studies with a minor in sport studies.  This is his second year with the DI
Grace Smith
Grace Smith, Senior photojournalist and filmmaker
Grace Smith is a fourth-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic Arts. In her four years at The Daily Iowan, she has held the roles of photo editor, managing summer editor, and visual storyteller. Outside of The Daily Iowan, Grace has held an internship at The Denver Post and pursued freelance assignments for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and the Des Moines Register.