Last year, Iowa was in limbo about star defender Drew Ott and his desire for a medical redshirt.
This year, Iowa won’t have any uncertainty in regards to a medical redshirt for one of its best players.
According to the Des Moines Register, the Hawkeyes’ go-to receiver, Matt VandeBerg, had his medical hardship waiver approved by the Big Ten Conference. That opened the door for him to return to Iowa City in 2017.
Though it was expected, that’s still good news for an Iowa offense that struggled after VandeBerg went down with a broken foot in practice on Sept. 26. He didn’t even go through the team’s senior day ceremony because he was so confident he would return.
VandeBerg played in the maximum of four games to still be eligible for a medical hardship waiver. His situation was different than Ott’s because his start and stop period were clear.
Before he went down, VandeBerg was the team’s top target. He had 19 catches for 284 yards and three touchdowns in the first four games.
With 106 career catches for 1,302 yards, VandeBerg has by far the most experience of any of Iowa’s returning outside weapons. He and Akrum Wadley — assuming he’s definitely coming back — will be the go-to skill players on an offense that’ll have a new quarterback.
That news alone will make for a much more optimistic preseason outlook for the Hawkeye offense entering 2017.
UPDATE: Iowa confirmed the Des Moines Register report of VandeBerg’s return via a release.
“We are excited to receive the official news on Matt returning for the 2017 season,” said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz. “Matt is a veteran and a proven leader. His presence within our program, both on and off the field, for the next year will be a valuable addition.”