By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa defensive tackle Cedrick Lattimore grew up near Detroit, but not as a fan of the Michigan Wolverines.
In fact, he wasn’t even much of a football fan until high school.
“I watched a lot of basketball from Michigan State, you know Tom Izzo,“ Lattimore said of Michigan State’s legendary men’s basketball coach. “I grew up watching basketball.”
Lattimore also grew up playing basketball and lettered in that sport for his high school team.
But he was also a star on the football field and chose to pursue that sport in college where he now starts for the Hawkeyes as a senior.
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound Lattimore is eager to return to his home to face Michigan on Saturday at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich.
“It’s good to go back home and play in front of your family,” Lattimore said. “So that’s how I take it.”
The Iowa players all expressed excitement about facing Michigan at the Big House for the first time since 2012, but they also said it’s just another game.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz always says the most important game is the next game on the schedule, and his players echoed that sentiment on Tuesday.
Whether the players truly believe that or not is hard to say, but that’s what they want you to believe.
Lattimore did say that he still has a little chip on his shoulder from not being recruited by Michigan for football.
“That’s a little motivation,” Lattimore said. “A lot of guys here play with a chip on their shoulder."
Lattimore is among four Michigan natives who start for the Hawkeyes on either offense or defense. The others are defensive end Chauncey Golston, cornerback Michael Ojemudia and left tackle Alaric Jackson, who is expected to play on Saturday after missing the last three games because of a knee sprain.
Sophomore free safety Kaevon Merriweather is also from Michigan and started in the season opener against Miami of Ohio before suffering a foot injury in practice that caused him to miss the last three games. But Merriweather is also expected to be ready for the Michigan game.
Ojemudia's older brother, Mario Ojemudia, played linebacker for the Wolverines.
"He's just encouraging me and giving me tips," Michael Ojemudia said of his brother. "There's no really big rivalry between us. We're just family at the end of the day. So he's just giving me encouraging words."
Here are multiple player interviews from Tuesday’s press conference: