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Iowa Football: Better than Transfer Portal - Key to Success

Iowa's transfer portal strategy focuses on retaining top talent, with standout players like Luke Lachey and Jay Higgins committing to another year.

The transfer portal has been absolutely chaotic this offseason, which shouldn't come as a shock. Last year, we saw a huge wave of players entering the portal in search of better opportunities.

It wasn't just benchwarmers looking for a shot at starting, or older players wanting to continue playing at a different school. In the last couple of years, we've witnessed high-caliber talent entering the transfer portal, creating a new era of free agency for college football.

Critics of the Hawkeyes heading into the 2022 season were disappointed at their lack of activity in the transfer portal. While they lost players like Charlie Jones and Tyrone Tracey, they only brought in a veteran backup tight end. However, Steven Stillianos stepped up when needed.

In 2023, Iowa took a different approach and it paid off. They added a new quarterback, a highly-rated wide receiver, and a starting-caliber linebacker, among other players. The eight new additions all played a role in the Hawkeyes' season.

Now, as we dive into this offseason, Iowa has not brought in a single player through the portal. At first glance, this might seem like a step backward for the Hawkeyes, but in reality, their lack of activity makes sense.

This offseason, their focus has been on retaining the top-tier talent they already have. The results have been very successful so far.

Head coach Kirk Ferentz received great news when starting tight end Luke Lachey committed to another year at Iowa. Despite missing most of the season due to an ankle injury, Lachey's talent is undeniable. He chose to return to help leave his mark on the program.

Lachey isn't the only player returning. All-American linebacker Jay Higgins, who filled the shoes of a departing award winner remarkably well, is also coming back for another year.

Opting out of bowl games is common for NFL prospects, but not for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Players like Nick Jackson, Sebastian Castro, Quinn Schulte, and Cooper DeJean are also considering another year at Iowa, choosing to play in the bowl game.

The transfer portal was not a focus for the Hawkeyes this offseason, as they are without an offensive coordinator. However, they haven't ruled out bringing in new players. They're also using name, image, and likeness to keep players in school for another year.

Instead of dwelling on the lack of transfer activity, it's important to recognize that Iowa has retained some of the best players in the conference. With a mix of experienced talent and promising young players, things are going according to plan for Kirk Ferentz and the Hawkeyes.

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