By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Take a close look at the final Outback Bowl box score, then scroll as far down the tackle chart as possible. There you will see Cedrick Lattimore’s name with one assisted tackle.
He couldn’t have been happier.
You see, Lattimore’s job isn’t to stockpile statistics. As a defensive tackle in the University of Iowa’s scheme, he is charged with taking on double teams that allows teammates to rack up much larger tackle totals.
“If you do your job, everybody is happy at the end of the day,” said Lattimore, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound senior from Redford, Michigan. “You come out with a win, so you did your job.”
That was the case in the Outback Bowl, where the Hawkeyes finished the season 9-4 after a 27-22 victory over No. 18 Mississippi State. Lattimore wasn’t a starter that day, but he is ready for an increased role as a senior.
When spring drills concluded in April, Lattimore’s name was on top of the depth chart at defensive left tackle. To his right is fellow senior Brady Reiff. The duo inherit starting spots from graduated seniors Sam Brincks and Matt Nelson.
Seven of Iowa’s 11 defensive starters from the Outback Bowl are no longer on the roster, but Lattimore smiles when asked how good the Hawkeye defense can be in 2019.
“Iowa always has a good defense, so I’m looking forward to this season,” Lattimore said.
Lattimore is one of four Michigan natives listed as a defensive starter on the spring depth chart. The others are senior Michael Ojemudia (cornerback), junior Chauncey Golston (end), and sophomore Kaevon Merriweather (safety).
“It’s a pipeline we have going,” Lattimore said. “Guys see what we are doing here and if you play defense, why wouldn’t you want to come to Iowa? That’s how you have to look at it.”
Last season the Hawkeye defense allowed 293.6 yards per game (seventh in Football Bowl Subdivision) and an average of 17.8 points (11th). It allowed a smidge more than 109 yards per game on the ground (12th).
In 12 games last season, Lattimore compiled 21 tackles with a sack. His career totals include 37 tackles, 3 ½ sacks, and a forced fumble. Now he is ready to put an exclamation mark on his career.
“I’m looking forward to a good, healthy season,” Lattimore said. “I want to play the best I can. That is doing what I need to do on the field and in the classroom — just be the best I can the whole year.”
Three Hawkeye student-athletes — Ojemudia, quarterback Nate Stanley, and running back Toren Young — will join head coach Kirk Ferentz in Chicago for Big Ten Football Media Days on July 18-19 at the Hilton Chicago.
Iowa opens the season Aug. 31, hosting Miami (Ohio) at 6:30 p.m. (CT) in Kinnick Stadium. For ticket information, visit hawkeyesports.com/footballgameday. Iowa will host its annual “Kids Day at Kinnick” on Aug. 10 with gates opening at 10 a.m.