Honoring an Iowa football senior class that’s seen it all

IOWA CITY − From Lucas Amaya to Jameson Witte, a whopping 27 Iowa football players will be honored in alphabetical order before the Hawkeyes’ 3 p.m. Friday regular-season finale against Nebraska. As each outgoing senior makes his way to Kinnick Stadium’s midfield, where family members and head coach Kirk Ferentz will be waiting to greet them, the opportunity for a rush of emotions is there.

What an incredible journey this tremendous senior class has experienced. Few groups at Iowa have enjoyed more wins. Fifth-year seniors have a 42-17 record (.712 winning percentage); four-year guys are 33-13 (.718) with as many as three more games to go.

And arguably no group will ever again be faced with the extreme circumstances that this one was … only to overcome adversity, again and again.

On the heels of back-to-back bowl-win years, including a 10-3 campaign in 2019 that was completed with a 49-24 thrashing of Southern California, this group of seniors came face to face with an emotionally draining 2020. The racial-bias investigation and fallout that summer brought heated conversations, triggered the ousting of longtime strength coach Chris Doyle and threatened to tear down a storied program and head coach. Then came the Big Ten Conference’s cancellation of the 2020 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, only to have it resuscitated amid stringent safety protocols that sometimes put players in quarantine for four weeks at a time. Those were taxing days for everyone, to say the least.

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