Oct. 8, 2014
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By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Brandon Snyder is an all-around athlete. He is versatile and skilled at football, his college sport of choice. He is a winner.
Snyder — a University of Iowa freshman — became a logical choice to briefly move from strong safety to quarterback in practice a few weeks ago when starter Jake Rudock was slowed by injury.
He was quarterback and defensive back at West Lyon (Iowa) High School as a senior in 2013, capping a 14-0 season with a 49-7 victory against BGM in the Class A championship.
But running the show for the Wildcats was different than executing plays against Big Ten-hardened defenders. Or seeing his intended receivers.
“It was scary at first, I couldn’t see over half the linemen, considering in high school everyone is about 6-foot-1, 6-2, but now (the offensive linemen) are about 6-5,” Snyder said of his week-long stay behind center. “Once I got going, it was like the old glory days running around trying to make plays. It was a good experience for a week, but defense is where I belong.”
“Every day I come out here I’m trying to get the offense ready, trying to get them the best preparation and best look I can. That’s my biggest focus. My goal is to get better myself — it’s good going against the (first team) every day in practice, and my goal is to get them as prepared as I can.”
Freshman Strong Safety
At 6-foot-1, 190 pounds, the native of Inwood, Iowa, has been tearing it up on the Hawkeye scout team.
“Every day I come out here I’m trying to get the offense ready, trying to get them the best preparation and best look I can,” Snyder said. “That’s my biggest focus. My goal is to get better myself — it’s good going against the (first team) every day in practice, and my goal is to get them as prepared as I can.”
Snyder is from the same Northwest Iowa high school as LeVar Woods, linebackers coach for the Hawkeyes.
“He’s an idol up there,” Snyder said of Woods. “I knew it would be an honor to play for (Woods) and the other coaches here.”
Snyder credits high school coach Jay Rozeboom and his staff for preparing him for Division I football. Snyder sees it as a smooth move from one outstanding staff in high school to another one in college.
“The coaches here are first class, the best in the nation,” Snyder said. “That has helped my transition from small-school Iowa football to here. I was prepared in high school for this opportunity.”
Snyder competed in football, basketball, track and field, golf, and baseball while prepping at West Lyon. But his days playing more than one sport are over. Snyder called his multi-sport background the best of all worlds, but for him, it’s time to focus on football.
“At the college level you need to be focused on one sport in my opinion because of the toll it takes, whether it’s lifting or watching film, or practice,” Snyder said.
Iowa (4-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten) hosts Indiana (3-2, 0-1) on Saturday inside Kinnick Stadium with an 11:01 a.m. (CT) kickoff. Snyder has Thursday’s practice remaining to get the first-string Hawkeyes ready for the Hoosiers.
Whether they play offense, defense, or special teams, Snyder enjoys his teammates.
“Right away I could tell the culture here is second to none,” he said. “It has been an awesome experience — guys have the same morals and values and they are looking to get better every day.”