By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Here are my 22 predictions mostly about Hawkeye sports, and in no particular order, for the year 2022:
- Tyler Linderbaum will be among the first 15 players selected in the 2022 NFL Draft, making him the highest center to be selected in the draft under Kirk Ferentz.
Of course, the Solon native still hasn’t declared for the draft, but that should happen in the next few days based mostly on just common sense.
It would be hard for Linderbaum to be hotter than he is right now as college football’s premier center. He is also a fourth-year junior and graduated from Iowa in December.
College players have until Jan. 17 to declare for the draft.
2. Iowa sophomore forward Keegan Murray will finish the season as the Big Ten’s leading scorer, and will also be among the first 15 players selected in the 2022 NBA Draft. That would make him Iowa’s highest draft pick since Ricky Davis was taken in the first round by the Charlotte Hornets in the 1998 draft, and with the 21st pick overall.
3. Five-star recruit Xavier Nwankpa will start at least three games next season at safety and will be a key contributor on special teams as a true freshman.
4. Sophomore forward Kris Murray, who is Keegan Murray’s twin brother, will finish this season as Iowa’s second leading scorer despite coming off the bench. Kris is currently ranked fourth on the team in scoring behind his brother, Patrick McCaffery and Jordan Bohannon with a 9.4 per-game average.
However, Patrick McCaffery, Bohannon and Kris Murray are currently separated by less than two points in per-game scoring average.
5. Jack McCaffery, a 6-foot-9 freshman at Iowa City West High School, and the son of Iowa coach Fran McCaffery, will commit to the Iowa basketball team either this coming spring or summer. Jack is currently averaging 12 points and about six rebounds per game.
6. The Iowa men’s track and field team under Joey Woody will win at least one of the two Big Ten titles in 2022 after having won both the indoor and outdoor titles last year.
7. The Iowa baseball team will make an NCAA Tournament regional this spring under Rick Heller after having missed out in each of the past three seasons.
8. The Iowa softball team will make the NCAA Tournament in Renee Gillespie’s third-season as head coach, and for the first time since 2009.
9. Whomever wins the national title at 125 pounds won’t say it publicly, but will be extremely grateful that Iowa’s Spencer Lee didn’t compete.
10. This might not be a very bold prediction, but Spencer Petras, barring injury, will start every game at quarterback for Iowa next season.
11. Iowa sophomore quarterback Alex Padilla will enter the transfer portal either during the current holiday break, or after the spring semester.
12. Southeast Polk five-star offensive lineman Kadyn Proctor will commit to Iowa over Alabama this coming spring or summer, and will say that the chance to play with his high school teammate and close friend Xavier Nwankpa in college was a big factor in his decision.
13. Iowa senior Alex Marinelli will win his first individual national title in March. The Ohio native is currently ranked first at 165 pounds by Amateur Wrestling News and third by WIN/Intermat.
14. The Iowa football team will extend its winning streak to eight games over Iowa State with a victory in September at Kinnick Stadium.
15. Iowa softball player Brylee Klosterman will lead the Big Ten in doubles this spring.
16. Jim Harbaugh will resign as the Michigan head coach in the next few weeks to become the head coach for the Chicago Bears. Urban Meyer will put out feelers for the Michigan job, but will ultimately be turned down for having too much baggage.
17. Either Matt Campbell or Luke Fickell will be hired as the next Michigan head coach in February.
18. Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell will lead the Big Ten in tackles next season.
19. Iowa running backs Gavin Williams and Leshon Williams will combine for over 1,200 rushing yards next season.
20. This could be more wishful thinking than a prediction, but Brian Ferentz will convince his father to play more up tempo next season and take more chances down field.
21. The Iowa women’s basketball team will rebound from its current funk and barely make the NCAA Tournament with Caitlin Clark leading the nation in scoring.
22. Iowa will announce later this month that it will allow students in for free for the remaining home games in men’s and women’s basketball at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.