July 31, 2014
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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JAMES ALLAN
CHICAGO — There was a time before University of Iowa senior Brandon Scherff became an All-America offensive tackle that he wanted to jump out of his hotel window during fall camp.
In August, 2010, Scherff reported to his first camp as a Hawkeye football student-athlete as a 325-pound behemoth out of Denison (Iowa) High School, but was just one year removed from transitioning to the offensive line. He was welcomed to the position by four players that would be invited to NFL training camps.
“I wanted to jump out of my window at camp because it was terrible,” Scherff said during Tuesday’s round table session at the 2014 Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. “I went against Adrian Clayborn, Christian Ballard, Karl Klug, and Broderick Binns.
“But it made me a better player; why not go against the best during practice?”“He has a chance to be outstanding. He could be one of the best players ever at Iowa. It’s all in the cards, but it’s like everything, it has to happen. He has done everything he can to position himself, and the thing I am excited about is there are other things he can get better at and he knows that.”UI head coach Kirk Ferentz
Clayborn (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and Klug (Tennessee Titans) are entering their fourth seasons in the NFL, while Ballard played two years with the Minnesota Vikings. Binns was picked up as a free agent by the Arizona Cardinals, and is currently in his first season as an office assistant on the UI football staff.
Scherff took his beatings, but soaked everything in during his freshman season.
“When I started to play, I was between Riley Reiff and James Ferentz,” he said. “They taught me the right way to do things. I tried to get better every day.”
Scherff played in 11 games in 2011 en route to Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team honors by BTN.com before starting eight games as a sophomore, but missed the final five games because of injury.
After earning All-America honors as a junior, Scherff was a hot name for the 2014 NFL Draft, but he elected to return. Now he’s on virtually every preseason All-America team and was named to the Outland Trophy Watch List.
“How often is the offensive tackle the offensive MVP of the team?” asked UI head coach Kirk Ferentz when talking about the buzz surrounding Scherff. “He’s going to get a lot of attention, and he should get a lot of attention.”
Part of the hype has Ferentz comparing Scherff to some of the great Iowa offensive lineman. The Robert Gallery, Marshal Yanda, and Reiff’s of the world.
“He has a chance to be outstanding,” said Ferentz. “He could be one of the best players ever at Iowa. It’s all in the cards, but it’s like everything, it has to happen. He has done everything he can to position himself, and the thing I am excited about is there are other things he can get better at and he knows that.
“He has played at a high level, but he can get better. That’s exciting and fun.”
Scherff takes the compliments in stride when his name surfaces among the Iowa greats. He is too humble and grounded to do otherwise.
“All those guys were great football players,” said Scherff. “I never thought it would come down to that. It shows that hard work pays off.
“We haven’t done anything, and I haven’t done anything this year. Hopefully they’re going to say the same things after this season. That’s my goal, I want to improve as a player and improve as best as I can to be a better player.”
Iowa opens the season Aug. 30, hosting Northern Iowa inside Kinnick Stadium. Tickets are available by calling (800) IA-HAWKS or by visiting www.hawkeyesports.com.