By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Deuce Hogan has yet to officially begin his career as an Iowa quarterback, but has already stepped into a leadership role to guide his future teammates through adversity.
Once former Iowa players began to speak out about racial injustices within the program last week in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Hogan knew he had to reach out to the other players in Iowa’s incoming 2020 recruiting class to promote unity.
“I feel like I’m in a place where everyone is going to take note of what I have to say,” Hogan said. “When something is going wrong it’s time for somebody to speak up. As a family, as a class, this is not going to be the first hard thing that we go through together.
“To see everything I was seeing on Twitter and Instagram and know that I’ve got 20 some dudes not saying anything in that group message, you kind of wonder where everybody’s head is at. I felt a bit of an obligation, and definitely a want, to make sure that everyone knew within our class where we were at. I definitely wanted to try to be a reassurance to everybody.”
Since the onset of the allegations that mostly center around strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle, head coach Kirk Ferentz has been emphasizing listening and learning as keys to creating a healthier culture within the program.
Running back Leshon Williams, a native of Oak Lawn, Ill., said that he and his classmates had already begun to do just that.
“It really made us closer because we have a group chat and we voice our opinions to each other and we all listen to each other and seem to agree on everything,” Williams said. “We feel as if we stick together that’s all that matters and we already built a family bond over the past couple months, so this situation didn’t really affect us. I feel like this class has one of the tightest bonds.”
Linebacker Jay Higgins said that as future Big Ten football players, the 2020 class realizes it has a special opportunity for its voice to be heard.
“We all have an understanding that we have to use our platform we have created for ourselves to promote change,” Higgins said.
Hogan, a native of Grapevine, Texas, realizes that situations like the one Iowa is facing can go in a positive or a negative way, but is optimistic that things are trending toward the former.
“The trajectory that it looks right now is that this had the opportunity to create division or create growth,” Hogan said. “The way that people have responded seems to be awesome and everybody seems to be going at it with an eyes wide open, how can I learn, how can I grow approach. I just hope and pray that this is a thing that leads to growth and kind of even a trampoline to propel us to the next level.”