Hawk TE Fiedorowicz ready for potential breakout season


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There was a time C.J. Fiedorowicz thought college football would be easy.

He remembers watching it on TV. “It seemed so natural,” he said.

And for a 19-year-old who stands 6-7, weighs 265 pounds, runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash, and was widely considered the nation’s top tight end in his recruiting class after shattering high-school record after high-school record, why wouldn’t it seem that way?

But he was wrong.

Fiedorowicz did see playing time as a true freshman in 2010, but it was mostly limited to special teams.

“I thought I had the size and all that, but it’s the little details that make you a good player,” Fiedorowicz said. “The hard work, all that stuff.”

With a year in the Iowa football program under his belt, “that stuff” is materializing for Fiedorowicz.
“He stepped up in the spring. It was a night-and-day difference from the fall [2010],” tight-end coach Eric Johnson said. “We’re looking for that same jump here this season.”

Fiedorowicz’s true potential at tight end may be unknown. The idea that he played the same position in high school was a little misleading. Rarely did he set up on the line of scrimmage; instead, he was used as more of a receiver.

“It was a little bit of an adjustment for him, from a tempo and physical standpoint,” Johnson said. “There is a lot to learn from our tight-end position.”

His receiver-like utilization also meant he wasn’t relied on to block very much — and tight ends who don’t block don’t play at Iowa.

Fiedorowicz said the heightened emphasis on blocking was his biggest adjustment last year. And while he’s improved — offensive coordinator Ken O’Keefe and quarterback James Vandenberg also lauded Fiedorowicz’s work during spring ball — he said “there’s still a long way to go.”

“There’s so many little things that you have to correct. Your footwork, your hands,” Fiedorowicz said. “The guys you’re going against are so much more advanced [than in high school].”

Fiedorowicz’s progress has slotted him as the No. 2 tight end in Iowa’s latest depth chart behind senior Brad Herman. The competition between the two in practice — as well as among the rest of the tight ends — is fierce but healthy. It hasn’t kept Herman from helping Fiedorowicz along.

“He’ll help me out, critique what I’m doing. He’s always willing to help other people out,” Fiedorowicz said. “He knows the system front and back.”

Fiedorowicz had a pretty good tutor last year, too. The now departed Allen Reisner, who is currently with the Minnesota Vikings, is the most recent in a long line of Kirk Ferentz-coached tight ends who have found work in the NFL.

Brandon Myers. Tony Moeaki. Scott Chandler. Dallas Clark.

But the league is at least a couple years away for Fiedorowicz, if he should follow the cue from the Hawkeyes before him.

Right now, he’s just trying to help Iowa win — and maybe have a breakout season in the process.
“Hopefully, I’m busting my butt here,” he said. “Hopefully, my time will come.”

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