Tyler Linderbaum not done being an Iowa Hawkeye
Iowa's All-America center announces he will return for junior season in 2021
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Much to the delight of Hawkeye fans, Tyler Linderbaum will start the year 2021 as he ended 2020 – as the Iowa football team’s highly respected starting center.
Linderbaum made that official on Thursday when he announced on Twitter that he would return to Iowa for his junior season in 2021.
Excited for the future, Go Hawks! pic.twitter.com/O4nJ5lrlWv
— Tyler Linderbaum (@TLinderbaum) December 31, 2020
“The chance to play in the NFL is a dream of mine, but I am not done being an Iowa Hawkeye,” Linderbaum said.
Linderbaum just concluded a breakout sophomore season in which he received numerous individual accolades, including making several All-America teams, and first-team All-Big Ten.
He accomplished all of that in just his second season playing center for the Hawkeyes.
Linderbaum came to Iowa as a defensive tackle and played that position while being redshirted as a true freshman in 2018 before switching to center during preparation for the 2018 Outback Bowl.
His career has been on the rise ever since with the 6-foot-3, 289-pound Linderbaum now considered one of the top centers in all of college football.
Linderbaum was the highest-graded center (91.5) and top-ranked center in the 2021 class according to @PFF_College.
So he would have certainly been selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, maybe as high as the first two or three rounds, and yet, Linderbaum still wants to be a Hawkeye.
That says a lot about his commitment to the Iowa program, about his patience and about his trust in the Iowa coaches.
It also seems to suggest that Linderbaum likes being a college kid, and a student-athlete.
It’s important to remember that Linderbaum is not even three years removed from high school yet. Football players are required to be three years removed from high school to be eligible for the draft, and Linderbaum would’ve barely met that requirement in 2021.
He grew up in nearby Solon with a dream of being a Hawkeye, and is in no hurry to see that dream end.
That’s sort of refreshing in an era in which so many college football players are in a big hurry to make it to the NFL.
In fairness, some are in a big hurry due to financial concerns, but Linderbaum is fortunate to not be in that situation.
Sure, everyone wants to be a millionaire, and Linderbaum will almost certainly achieve that status at some point, thanks to football.
But he still has unfinished business as a Hawkeye, and as a college student.
The only concern that comes to mind with Linderbaum’s decision to return to Iowa is the risk of injury.
But why live scared?
Linderbaum has made a decision that he feels is in his best interest, and there is no point in him worrying about getting injured.
And just think about how good Linderbaum could be a year from now with another college season under his belt.
Kirk Ferentz’s area of expertise is the offensive line, and now Linderbaum gets to spend another year tapping into that expertise.
Linderbaum will also be the anchor for Iowa’s 2021 offensive line, and will get to play another season with his close friend, Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras.
Linderbaum’s announcement came a day after Iowa All-America defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon announced that he would skip his senior senior season to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Nixon’s situation is different, however, because he is fourth-year junior, and because it’s hard to see him being any more attractive to NFL scouts than he is right now, whereas Linderbaum still has room to improve his draft status.
Linderbaum really couldn’t have made a wrong decision in this case because he was a lock to be drafted, and because he loves being a Hawkeye.
It just came down to what he felt was in his best interest, and now we know.
Tyler Linderbaum still wants to be a Hawkeye for at least another year, and that gives Hawkeye fans another reason celebrate on New Year’s Eve.
Just be careful.