IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa receiver Jay Scheel is trying to work his way up the depth chart after spending most of his first season as a Hawkeye trying to get healthy.
Scheel isn’t sure how close he is to being 100 percent healthy following multiple knee surgeries in high school. But he’s made significant strides over the past year.
“When I got here I was still in the rehab process,” Scheel said Saturday at media day. “I was working on it until about November.
“It’s tough to say. But it definitely feels a lot better than it did a year ago. I’ve made a lot of progress.”
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Scheel has progressed enough to crack the preseason depth chart as a redshirt freshman. He is listed as the backup at wide receiver behind junior Matt VandeBerg.
“It’s the preseason; that doesn’t mean too much right now,” Scheel said of being listed on the depth chart. “It all depends on how fall camp goes and on how everything shakes out.”
Scheel was a standout dual-threat quarterback at Union High School in La Porte City. He finished with over 4,000 passing yards in high school and helped his team win a state title as a sophomore.
Being away from the game for a year was an adjustment for Scheel.
“All the freshmen have to transition into it,” Scheel said. “It’s a little weird not playing at all. But you get used to it. You’re growing. You’re working out still. So you’re making progress.”
In addition to getting healthy, Scheel also has had to learn a new position in college. He saw some action at receiver in high school, but mostly played quarterback.
“If you switch positions that makes it that much more difficult,” Scheel said. “But it’s going to be challenging no matter what.”
Scheel is part of young group of Iowa receivers who are competing for playing time. It’s pretty clear who the team’s top three receivers are in VandeBerg and seniors Tevaun Smith and Jacob Hillyer.
“The big question is what’s next after those three guys?” said Iowa offensive coordinator Greg Davis.
According to the depth chart, Scheel is next in line.
“Everybody is hungry on this team,” Scheel said. “Everybody wants to prove how hungry we are and how good we can be.”