IOWA CITY, Ia. – Brandon Scherff was pretty much set on returning for his senior season.
But the all-Big Ten left tackle didn’t want to interrupt Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. So he waited until Ferentz stopped talking, then revealed his decision.
“I love playing here,” Scherff said Friday. “I love this atmosphere. It’s like a family around here.
“And also, I can always improve myself. Play faster, smarter.”
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound native of Denison was projected by NFL gurus as a possible first- or second-round draft pick next spring.
That led some to wonder if the Jan. 1 Outback Bowl against Louisiana State might be Scherff’s final appearance as a Hawkeye.
“I room with him a lot of times, home games, away games,” right tackle Brett Van Sloten said. “And just I told him ‘I’ll support you with whatever you choose to do.’
“I just recommended, talk to the guys who have done it before.”
Ferentz was thinking along those lines, as well.
When he met with Scherff, Ferentz offered to arrange meetings with past Iowa linemen such as Robert Gallery and Riley Reiff.
Gallery stayed for his senior year in 2003, and was taken with the second-overall pick of the 2004 NFL draft by the Oakland Raiders.
Reiff left early, and became a first-round choice in 2012 of the Detroit Lions.
Did Scherff want to get their advice?
“Nah,” he said. “Coach Ferentz knows his stuff, so I just count on him. I had it in my mind that I was staying, and just confirmed.
“I’m happy with my decision.”
Scherff made his decision public last week during an interview with his hometown radio station.
The first teammate he contacted was center Austin Blythe.
“He was trying to get me to stay,” Scherff said. “He was the first guy to know.”
Van Sloten found out during a team banquet.
“I stayed out of it for as much as I could,” Van Sloten said. “I didn’t want to sway him either way. Quite frankly, it’s his decision.
“Obviously, what he did was an unselfish decision. He’s doing what’s best for him and the team, too.”
Schreff is aware of the risks.
He missed the last five games of 2012 with a broken fibula and dislocated ankle.
“Injuries are always part of football,” Scherff said. “They said it’s very slim you’re going to have a career-ending injury. I’m not worried about that anymore.”
He will, however, take out an insurance policy in case of another injury.
Scherff’s parents, Cindy and Bob, were supportive of his staying with the Hawkeyes.
“My mom and dad said ‘Whatever you want, we want for you,’” Scherff recalled. “I told them I want to stay and they’re like, ‘Yep. That’s a good choice.’’’
As a result, the Outback Bowl will be another step in Scherff’s journey, not a finale.
“You can always improve yourself,” Scherff said. “That’s one of the reasons I can stay… Playing lower and obviously finishing at the second level is one of my goals next year.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football