Male Athlete of the Year: Brandon Scherff

BY DANNY PAYNE | MAY 11, 2015 5:00 AM

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There’s no denying Brandon Scherff’s talent on the football field. A guy doesn’t earn the Outland Trophy, become a consensus All-American, or get selected No. 5 overall in the NFL draft without having the ability to maul defenders at any given moment.

Say what you want about Iowa’s lackluster performance on the football field, but the truth is the truth — in 2014, no male athlete in Iowa’s Athletics Department had a better showing than Scherff, which is why the Washington draft pick is the DI’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 2014-15 school year.

To better appreciate exactly what Scherff did, it helps to take a look back at the whirlwind he’s been through since deciding to stick around Iowa City following his junior season. The Denison native could have cashed in with the NFL, but he decided to put pro ball on hold for a year and instead play his final season for the Hawkeyes.

While that story stayed relatively local, the hype around Scherff burst onto the national scene just in time for Big Ten media days in July. Chris Doyle, Iowa’s strength and conditioning coach, posted a video of Scherff hang-cleaning 443 pounds three times in Iowa’s weight room.

That’s, in a word, ludicrous. Scherff did something not a lot of others can do, and once the video went viral, all eyes were on Scherff to see if that weight-room strength carried onto the field.

It did.

While Scherff was beat by a defensive lineman or linebacker a few times in different games, his domination far outweighed his mistakes. During the course of the season, it was commonplace to see Scherff drive a lineman or linebacker far up the field in the running game or be a brick wall in pass protection.

To further explain Scherff’s toughness, look no further than the week of the Iowa-Iowa State game in Kinnick. Scherff injured his knee the week before against Ball State and had a procedure done on Tuesday. He played — and played fairly well — that Saturday against the Cyclones.

As the play around him throughout the year was only enough to win seven games, Scherff ultimately couldn’t do enough to help the Hawkeyes end the year in the good graces of Iowa fans.

That doesn’t diminish the accomplishments Scherff amassed during his five years as a member of Iowa’s football program.

He has moved onto greener pastures in the NFL. He’s the latest product of the offensive-line factory that is the Hawkeye program, and after leaving such a decorated legacy behind him; it’d be a shame for him not to win this award.

We’re all lucky to have witnessed such an incredible career and senior season. There may be another Scherff in the next few years, but that doesn’t make one of the best left tackles in program history is any less special.

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