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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
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Cedrick Lattimore got his feet wet on the University of Iowa defensive line as a true freshman and it has helped prepare him for a bigger role in 2017.
The sophomore from Redford, Michigan, is listed as a first team defensive tackle alongside senior Nathan Bazata. It comes on the heels of a freshman season where he logged action in six contests.
“I am ready,” said Lattimore, who was one of 10 true freshman to play during the 2016 season. “It’s a challenge every day, but I want to live up to that challenge.”
Lattimore recorded one sack and forced a fumble in roughly 80 game snaps in 2016. He saw his first career action in the season-opening victory over Miami (Ohio) and he had a sack and forced fumble in Iowa’s Big Ten road victory at Illinois.
The game repetitions were limited, but the practice reps gave him a foundation for the future.
“(Playing as a freshman) helped,” he said. “In practice, I would get reps with the first-team defense. Those repetitions helped.”
Lattimore spent the season watching and learning from first-team All-Big Ten defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson. Johnson started the final 27 games of his Hawkeye career and finished with 112 tackles, including 18 tackles for loss.
Johnson showed Lattimore how to compete. He taught him about toughness and the work ethic needed to get better every day in practice.
“Jaleel is like my brother,” said Lattimore. “I learned everything from him. He taught me to compete, fight, to be a better person, and a better young man. He taught me a lot on and off the field.”
Iowa defensive line coach Reese Morgan sees potential in Lattimore. He sees a player that wants to be great.
“Cedrick loves football and has a lot of pride,” said Morgan. “He cares about the game and doesn’t want to let anybody down. It bothers him when he makes a mistake, probably to a fault.
“He got a ton of reps (in the spring) and was coached every single snap. I think he’s going to be ready (this fall), he doesn’t have an option. He brings good size, is competitive, and is coachable. He is a fun to be around.”
Lattimore is slated to step into Johnson’s starting position on the defensive front. It’s a position that requires dirty work and it’s one he says you must approach with confidence.
“A lot goes on in the middle and you have a lot coming at you,” said Lattimore. “You have to come off the ball, strain, and be confident. I am ready to live up to (the expectations), but I try not to think about it. I just focus on football.”
Season tickets for the 2017 Iowa football season are on sale. The Hawkeyes will host seven home games in Kinnick Stadium, beginning with a Sept. 2 contest against Wyoming.