By Tyler Devine
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Noah Shannon and John Waggoner have had the luxury of learning from some great defensive linemen during their first three seasons at Iowa.
Now, the redshirt junior defensive lineman will try to fill the void left like their predecessors did in another year in which Iowa must replace a lot of production along its defensive front, including 2020 consensus All-American defensive tackle Daviyon Nixon.
The 6-foot, 288-pound Shannon is listed as one of Iowa’s starting defensive tackles, while the 6-foot-5, 271-pound Waggoner is listed as one of Iowa’s starting defensive ends.
“It’s something that we do with each recruiting class,” Shannon said. “Just implementing how physical you have to be to play defensive line in the Big Ten.”
Shannon and Waggoner both redshirted during the 2018 season in which Iowa had as much depth on the defensive line as any other year in recent memory.
Iowa’s starters were Anthony Nelson, Matt Nelson, Sam Brincks and Parker Hesse.
Chauncey Golston, A.J. Epenesa, Cedrick Lattimore and Brady Reiff were also a part of the rotation.
During media availability on Tuesday, Waggoner, a native of West Des Moines, Iowa, pointed to that group of defensive lineman set the standard for Iowa’s current group of defensive linemen operate.
“We’ve had a lot of guys that have done things the right way,” Waggoner said. “I think that group my freshman year – Anthony, Matt, Parker, Sam, all those guys – I think not only on the field but off the field they showed us how to do things professionally and the right way. And then A.J. and Chauncey carried that on. I learned a lot from those guys, just how to operate.”
Shannon, a native of Montgomery, Ill., and Waggoner are not without playing experience.
Shannon has played in 15 games during his career, with one start last season, while Waggoner has played in 14 games.
Waggoner played in just four of Iowa’s eight games last season after testing positive for COVID-19.
Both players also have had the advantage of battling against some elite offensive lineman.
Shannon recalled a time during his redshirt freshman season when former Hawkeye offensive linemen Keegan Render and Ross Reynolds put him on skates.
Shannon called it his “Welcome to the Big Ten moment.”
Now, the two go head-to-head in practice against an offensive line led by junior Tyler Linderbaum, who was a finalist for the Rimington Trophy in 2020 and is arguably the best center in college football entering this season.
“I have to be at my best every play, because I know Linderbaum is going at it his best every play,” Shannon said. “And I know the technique that he brings with him every play. I wake up in the morning and it almost feels like a game day to me, going against Linderbaum every day.”