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Harty: Scherff’s decision speaks volumes about him

[ 0 ] December 10, 2013 |

Iowa offensive lineman Brandon Scherff did two things on Monday that speak about who he is as a person.

I wouldn’t have thought any less of Scherff if he had chosen to pursue an NFL career instead of returning for his senior season, but I respect him more for staying in school.

Scherff was considered a potential first-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft, so there was plenty of incentive for him to take the money and run. But not enough to overcome his desire to be a Hawkeye and to live the college experience for as long as possible. It’s never a bad decision to stay in school, even with NFL riches waiting.

Scherff also realizes that a strong and healthy senior season would help him more financially, anyway. He would’ve been compensated nicely in the 2014 NFL draft, but the 2015 draft could provide Scherff with a lifetime of security.

The other thing Scherff did on Monday that says something about him as a person was announce his decision on his hometown radio station in Denison. He stuck with his roots and shared a significant moment with the people that matter the most to him.

His teammates and coaches at Iowa, his family, and maybe a few close friends probably already knew about Scherff’s decision. But the radio station in Denison was the first media outlet to confirm it.

Scherff could’ve held a press conference and announced under the glare of the spotlight that he was coming back to Iowa for his senior season. It probably would’ve gone viral on Twitter and would’ve been shown on ESPN.

But it wouldn’t have been Brandon Scherff.

I don’t know Scherff personally, but have been around him enough while covering the team to appreciate his humble nature. You’d never know from interviewing the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Scherff that he is Iowa’s next great offensive lineman to emerge under head coach Kirk Ferentz.

Scherff has a tendency to repeat himself with quotes like “we just have to keep working hard and keep improving and taking it one game at a time.” But that’s better than being a self-promoter or saying stuff that might show up on an opponent’s bulletin board or to make him sound silly.

One player certainly doesn’t make or break a football team. But with Scherff returning, Iowa will have three-fifths of this year’s starting offensive line to build around next season. The other full-time starters are junior-to-be guard Jordan Walsh and junior-to-be center Austin Blythe. Senior-to-be Andrew Donnal also has extensive playing time at both guard and tackle.

Combine Scherff and his cohorts on the offensive line with the experience returning on the defensive line and the 2014 season looks promising for the Hawkeyes in the trenches, where games often are decided. Iowa doubled its win total from the 2012 season by finishing 8-4 this season and now is preparing to face LSU in the Outback Bowl.

Scherff’s decision to stay in school is more fuel for a fire that already was burning at Iowa, sparked by this season’s resurgence on the field.

Scherff is the fourth left tackle from the Iowa program in the past decade that has faced the decision to leave school a year early for the NFL. The others were Robert Gallery, who chose to stay at Iowa in 2003; Bryan Bulaga, who left after his junior season in 2009; and Riley Reiff, who also left after his junior season in 2011.

All three players were selected in the first round of the NFL draft, with Gallery going the highest at No. 2 in 2004.

Scherff now gets to focus solely on being a student-athlete again.

And judging from his decision, he must really enjoy it.

Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

About Pat Harty: Columnist Pat Harty has been covering the Iowa Hawkeyes for the Press-Citizen since 1991. Originally from Des Moines, he currently writes columns and covers Hawkeye men's basketball for Hawk Central. View author profile.

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