Ex-IU OL Cronk headed to Iowa

Coy Cronk is headed to Iowa to complete his college career.

The Hoosiers’ former left tackle, who placed his name in the NCAA transfer portal after graduating from IU, is now listed as a student in Iowa’s online directory. Rivals’ Blair Sanderson was the first to report Cronk’s listing at the university.

Cronk’s father, Nick, then confirmed his son’s transfer to Iowa with the Lafayette Journal & Courier. 

Cronk will have one year to play for the Hawkeyes.  The 6-foot-5, 325-pounder from Lafayette suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the fourth game of his senior season with the Hoosiers, allowing him another year of eligibility.

At first, the questions posed to Cronk were about a potential return to IU over a somewhat risky leap to the NFL Draft. He instead chose to look at other options in the college ranks, and, it turns out, in the Big Ten. If Cronk had returned to IU, he would have been competing with rising sophomore Matthew Bedford and rising redshirt junior Caleb Jones at the tackle spots.

IU does, however, have openings at guard and center with the graduations of Hunter Littlejohn and Simon Stepaniak.

Iowa, on the other hand, has an opening at tackle with junior Tristan Wirfs, considered a potential first-rounder, heading to the NFL Draft. Another junior tackle considered an NFL prospect, Alaric Jackson, decided to forgo the draft and return for his senior year.

Cronk had a stellar career at IU as a long-time anchor of the line’s left side. He started as an undersized freshman in 2016, growing into the role and racking up 40 starts at the left tackle spot. He was a team captain in 2019 and was lovingly regarded as “Coach Cronk” after his injury, helping mentor his freshman replacement Bedford.

IU does not play Iowa next season, which means Cronk will not have to directly compete against his alma mater in his final collegiate season.

16 comments

  1. I wish him well in his pursuit to the NFL, I am disappointed to see him make this move instead of finishing with IU. I have to wonder if the competition at Tackle is too tough to come back on compete for the starting spot. I think he would have better situated for the NFL Draft by coming back to IU and playing guard to develop the flexibility the NFL values so much.

    1. There has to be an opportunity to compete for that spot. I mentioned what was going on here a couple of weeks ago. This was about IU trying to get their five best OL on the field and as their best and most versatile player, they wanted to move him. Him leaving and where he’s going is a strong response to that. Breakups usually don’t end well.

  2. Why not. Ferentz and company have a penchant for cherry picking our state every year. May as well steal a decent OL guy. They already turned our top DE out of Culver. If I were Allen I would spend some time and effort in Iowa to send a message. Maybe getting a 3+ guy from under their nose (and Iowa St) might make him a bit reticent about coming over here in the future?

  3. You transfer to where they promise you what you want: starting, at offensive tackle, in the B1G. However, Coy loses all of his “good vibes” that he earned as an injured co-captain. I won’t follow his career any more!

  4. I’m very disappointed by this news. I’d be less disappointed if he transferred to a school in a different conference, if he had grown up in Iowa, or if he had been told that he was not going to be a starter next season. But none of those reasons apply.

    I guess he really wants to play left tackle, and no other position. And that’s probably not real smart. Either that, or he’s unhappy/dissatisfied with his coach at IU. What other reasons are there for him doing this? It’s not an issue of academics, as if Iowa offered graduate degrees in something IU doesn’t (they might, but he’s not going to stay at Iowa long enough to complete a graduate degree).

    As for Ferentz picking him up, that’s not a theft. Cronk decided to leave. Ferentz is doing what any other coach would do, trying to make his team as good and deep as possible. It would have been irresponsible for Frentz not to take Cronk. TA would do the exact same thing if the opportunity presented itself. If TA and staff want to recruit Iowa, they’re free to do so, but given the Power-five conference schools that recruit in Iowa, TA can probably achieve a better yield in Florida and other states in the Southeast.

    1. Not sure why you don’t think it’s wise of him to want to play LT, since that’s where he’s been told his future in the NFL probably is. IU wanted him to switch positions away from that to take advantage of his athleticism, experience and flexibility. He wanted to stay put.

      By going to Iowa, he also saw an opportunity to get top flight OL coaching and take advantage of one of the best Strength and Conditioning programs in all of college football. One notion that isn’t accurate in any way is that he didn’t want to compete for a spot, since that spot wasn’t up for competition. Anyone who says that is wrong as can be. Like I said earlier, breakups usually don’t end well.

  5. LEO — Cronk is pursuing his dream of preparing himself to play left tackle in the NFL, good for him…you guys are probably correct Indiana football team was probably going to try and put the best five offense lineman on the football field and that meant moving Cronk to guard or center. Which normally is not a problem, but Cronk probably felt that he had started left tackle for three years and probably felt that position was his and basically he lost this position do to an injury. This will really hurt the offense line next year. Everybody was hoping for a breakthrough year in 2020, but I see this as the beginning of the second step in next year not going well. The first step was losing DeBoer as an offensive cord. Next year gets more challenge each and every day.

    1. Here is one other little part to the mix 79,
      Assuming IUFB can get MP up to H4H standards, he will be on the field. A left handed QB does not showcase a OLT the way a right handed QB would. Might be as simple as that, which program will allow him to showcase his talent the best. Is Iowa’s QB right handed?

  6. This is horrible development which torches LEO as a meaningless slogan except for maybe Peyton Ramsey (if he stays for another year). Will be interesting to see what Peyton does if Penix practices in the spring and is named number 1 again.

    Bear Down – based on your inside info, it sounds as if TA and the IU coaching staff totally bungled this situation. Give Cronk a chance to compete for his old spot back and if he wins the job, let Bedford red shirt if he can’t play guard or center. Things must have really gone bad between TA, Hiller, and Cronk to have ostensibly your best lineman, Hoosier born, 4 year starter, team captain, and “assistant coach” transfer to another program in your conference. It should have never gotten to this point.

    I don’t blame Ferentz at all. As far as IU poaching some good players from the state of Iowa, good luck! It’s not going to happen. Continued improvement at IU relies on the Florida pipeline, and unless the staff signs some players in February from that state, the pipeline appears to have sprung a leak.

    1. R67,
      We may all be reading a whole lot more into this than is actually there. I’ve seen far too many times when rumors or leaks coming out in order to distract from the real reasons. I already raised one possibility, but there are others.

      Just suppose that Cronk didn’t think he could beat out Bedford or Jones for a tackle spot. He knows what he would be up against this fall better than anybody. Which would look worse, getting beat out for the job by an underclassmen and redshirt Junior or transferring to another school and taking your chances? Looks like he may have a good shot at a tackle position at Iowa with no danger of getting beat out by his own understudies. We need to remember that Bedford and especially Jones will probably be playing on Sunday in the near future. Jones has a good probability of being a high draft pick, maybe Bedford too by the time he is done at IU.

  7. I’m surprised by the pessimism expressed on this string. It suggests that to many Hoosier faithful, pessimism about FB remains deeply ingrained. If losing one good O-linemen is going to doom next season, then the program wasn’t any good to begin with. And Cronk’s transfer does not diminish LOE. We’ve heard two recently hired position coaches and one recently promoted Coordinator refer to the positive influence of TA’s LOE philosophy. And did anyone read the recent article about Caleb Murphy, a recruit in the upcoming class? This young man specifically said that it was the LOE culture that TA is creating that convinced him to sign with IU. He referenced how TA called him the morning of the Purdue game, long after he had signed his LOI, just to console him on the sudden death of his HS coach. He was blown away that TA would take the time to do that a few hours before the kick-off of the Purdue game. After he got off the phone, the young man concluded, “How can you not want to play for a coach like that.” Great article if you can find it.

    Who said that Iowa’s S & C program is superior to IU? While I won’t argue that Iowa may have better coaching for their O-linemen, we should be careful not confuse better recruiting with better coaching. There’s no question that Iowa has, over the last decade or so, has enjoyed superior recruiting than IU has. But if Iowa’s O-line is so outstanding, why did Iowa need Cronk in the first place?

    I think it is realistic to expect IU to win six or seven regular season games next year. Winning eight games is probably not realistic given the schedule includes Wisconsin. But if IU wins six or seven games, makes it to another bowl game, and wins that bowl game, I will consider that a continuation of the progress TA is building. I will consider that another successful season for IU FB. Growth in any individual or organization is hardly ever linear. Most of the time, progress resembles a process that is two steps forward and one step backwards.

    Maybe one of the reasons Cronk transferred was his desire to play a home game in front of a full stadium filled with passionate fans? He’ll certainly experience that at Iowa! If Hoosier fans want to see IU Football continue its progress and recruit better players, they need to fill Memorial Stadium and enthusiastically support TA’s team. That will have more to do with improved recruiting than anything TA and his staff can do.

  8. thinkaboutit – You could be right, although I doubt Ferentz would promise Cronk the starting left tackle spot at Iowa. I would think Ferentz, for a long as he has been around, told Cronk he has a good chance to be the starting tackle, but he has to compete and beat out his competition. From what Bear Down has said, it appears the IU coaches didn’t give him the option of competing for the spot. IU would have been in a better position to allow Cronk to compete with Bedford this Spring and see what happened. If Cronk won out, red shirt Bedford or move him to guard. If Bedford won out, ask Cronk to move at that time over the summer. He could still have said no and requested to transfer at that point, but his options would have been fewer.

    If Jones and Bedford are future NFL starters, and Stepaniak is a possible NFL’er, then our OL sure underperformed.

    V13 – Have you reviewed the play of Cronk vs Bedford this year to determine who in your opinion performed better at the position? I know that is hard since Cronk only played 4 games and I guess one B1G game this year, but I you could try to compare Cronk last year to Bedford this year.

    Bear Down – Don’t know if you can answer this or not, but the question I have is did the coaching staff just tell Cronk he was moving for the good of the team or that they thought he couldn’t beat Bedford out for his old job?

    1. Wouldn’t say the coaches bungled this. They were just looking to get their 5 best OL on the field. CC, in the eyes of the coaches, was the best of the group, even if MB might have more upside. CC is stronger, has better technique, and is much more versatile. He can play any position up front, while MB isn’t ready for anything other than T. With that in mind, and with wanting to get their 5 best, they told him he was moving. There wasn’t going to be an opportunity for him to play LT. Crider will always be inside and CJ isn’t able to move and be effective, either. Good kid but I’m not sure he’s NFL caliber.

      So CC’s skill and versatility made him the one and only candidate to move, and he didn’t see himself there (and that’s not only his opinion). Once everyone knew where things stood, he was gone. Fair to say the coaches were caught off guard just a tad. Like I said, CC wasn’t afraid to compete. That wasn’t going to be an option, and it’s not because MB is better. He’s not, at least yet. CC would’ve only played tackle if one of the others got hurt. No promises from Iowa, but they’re well known for turning out linemen and their S&C program is one of the very best in all of college football. He’ll get a chance there, and it’s a fresh start.

  9. Ranger67, Cronk struggled with inside moves by talented edge rushers while. He doesn’t bend well enough to gain leverage , a surprise because he played catcher in HS, and doesn’t get the proper hand placement very often. In spite of that he was effective most plays and dominated teams without a talented edge rusher.

    Bedford struggled against top edge rushers especially in the game against PSU. His feet seem to be better than Cronk’s as he adjust to inside rushes better. He definitely needs more strength training but has the talent to really turn into an elite Tackle.

  10. Thinker wrote, “Just suppose that Cronk didn’t think he could beat out Bedford or Jones for a tackle spot.” Given that Cronk is supposed to be a really good player, this is a good sign for IUFB that Bedford and Jones are so fearsome that they have chased Cronk away- that is, if said supposition is correct.
    As for the LEO culture, a career decision is a career decision, nothing less and nothing more. Stephen Stills: “If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with.”

  11. “If Jones and Bedford are future NFL starters, and Stepaniak is a possible NFL’er, then our OL sure underperformed.” Bingo, Ranger. Whatever his reason for leaving, I don’t think Cronk was scared off by the competition.

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