Des Moines, Iowa – This past Tuesday, March 20th Iowa basketball player Ahmad Wagner made the announcement that he would be ending his college basketball career in order to pursue a career in football.
Thankful for all of the wonderful experiences I had here! The relationships I built will last a lifetime pic.twitter.com/JPRp…
— Ahmad Wagner (@Ahmad_Wagner) March 20, 2018
Wagner’s decision to hang up his sneakers and put on some cleats has been something many Hawkeye fans have been clamoring for since Iowa’s assistant football coach Kelvin Bell tweeted about it last year. Wagner said It didn’t take long for the football staff at Iowa to reach out to him after he made the announcement, and he when asked about staying a Hawkeye he said “I am comfortable with Iowa. Iowa has treated me well.”
It’s no secret that the Hawkeyes have a need for playmakers at the wide receiver position. Wagner was an outstanding wide receiver for Wayne High School in Ohio. However, he is now listed at 6’7 235 lbs. Which leads us to the point of this article; is Wagner more of a receiver or a tight end?
Receiver or Tight End
When I first heard of Wagner’s announcement I agreed with the crowd of people who were saying Wagner’s size and skill set make him better off at the tight end position. Now, I’m not so sure about that. When I agreed with those folks I hadn’t seen Wagner’s high school highlights as a football player. Then I saw the following tweet:
As Wayne grad @Ahmad_Wagner turns his attention to football now remember we're talking about a guy that's 6'7" with track speed. He caught 58 passes for 1,028 yards and 15 TDs. @DMitrikTrice0 said it back in high school: Wagner has NFL potential. pic.twitter.com/LTKe…
— James Rider (@JamesRRider) March 21, 2018
Needless to say, after watching the tape I quickly changed my mind. Ahmad Wagner is a wide receiver. Like most Hawkeye fans I had seen Wagner play a lot of basketball. I wasn’t sure how his size would translate to the football field. I wasn’t sure how his speed and quickness would translate to the football field. However, I’m much more confident about those concerns after watching his tape. He played in at a high level of high school football in Ohio and he looked like a man among boys out there.
Iowa doesn’t need anymore tight ends. They need wide receivers, and Ahmad Wagner gives them something that they don’t have on the roster right now. Brandon Smith is probably the closest thing to Ahmad Wagner, but even he is 3 inches shorter and 10 lbs lighter.
I realize that Wagner is three years removed from playing football, but he’s a high character young man with a great work ethic. It will take some time for him to get comfortable, but if he decides to stay in Iowa City I think he has enough talent to make an impact as a wide receiver on this Hawkeye team as soon as this coming season.
At this point, let’s all hope Wagner decides he wants to remain a Hawkeye!