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Ready to Step Up
Iowa football has 4 talented tight ends ready to produce

June 23, 2014

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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
    hawkeyesports.com

    IOWA CITY, Iowa -- An army of skilled tight ends is ready to step up for the University of Iowa football team.

    2014 Spring Football

    The Hawkeyes have four tight ends -- senior Ray Hamilton, juniors Jake Duzey and Henry Krieger Coble, and sophomore George Kittle -- looking to account for the loss of third-round NFL Draft selection C.J. Fiedorowicz.

    "Everyone brings something unique with their skill set," said Hamilton, who caught eight passes for 95 yards in a run-blocking role 2013.

    Fiedorowicz finished his senior season with 30 catches for 299 yards and a team-high six touchdowns. The four returnees combined for 32 catches for 473 yards and two scores. Duzey is the top returning receiver option after hauling in 19 receptions for 270 yards and two touchdowns.





    "When we're on the field, we're all trying to win a spot and that's healthy competition. That brings out the best in each other and that helps the team most because we need production from our position to be successful."
    UI senior tight end Ray Hamilton


    "You start with a guy like Duzey, who you saw at Ohio State (in 2013) can out-run a defense," said Hamilton. "George may even be faster than Duzey, and Henry's ball skills are off the charts; he is smooth with his hands and catches everything. I bring different things to the table.

    "We complement each other. As long as we can complement each other and produce, that's the most important part. We need production from our group to help our team win."

    Hamilton says it is a good environment in the tight end meeting room.

    "It's a healthy competition because away from the field we're as close as you're going to find," he said. "It started when C.J. was here, we were close and now it has been taken to a new level."

    Hamilton says it's game on when the pads and helmets are on.

    "We can be as close as we want to be, but it's a competition," he said. "We know there are so many spots that can be on the field at the same time, whether it's one, two, or three tight ends.

    "When we're on the field, we're all trying to win a spot and that's healthy competition. That brings out the best in each other and that helps the team most because we need production from our position to be successful."

    Hamilton says the position group has taken it to another level in their work with the Hawkeyes' returning quarterbacks Jake Rudock, C.J. Beathard, and Nic Shimonek.

    "With all the quarterbacks, we're working hard because we know we have a limited time until the first game," he said. "We know if we bust our butts now, it is going to pay dividends down the road."

    Hamilton says the team has put the eight-win season and Outback Bowl berth in the memory bank because now is the time to push forward toward bigger things in 2014.

    "We need to stay hungry," he said. "We haven't done anything at all and this group needs to understand that. That starts with the leadership with us seniors and making sure our group stays hungry and focused.

    "The Outback Bowl is not the ultimate goal. We want championships, and I hope everyone understands that. That's what we're trying to establish here is a championship work ethic."

    To order tickets for the 2014 University of Iowa football season, click HERE.

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