Honoring an Iowa senior football class that has seen it all

IOWA CITY — From Lucas Amaya to Jameson Witte, a whopping 27 Iowa football players will be honored in alphabetical order ahead of the Hawkeyes’ regular-season finale Friday at 3 p.m. against Nebraska. When each outgoing senior makes his way to the center field at Kinnick Stadium, where family members and head coach Kirk Ferentz await to greet them, the opportunity for a rush of emotion is there.

And what an incredible journey this great senior class has had. Few groups in Iowa have enjoyed more victories. Fifth-year seniors have a record of 42-17 (.712 win percentage); Four-year-old boys are 33-13 (.718) with up to three more games to go.

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

After back-to-back years of bowl wins, including a 10-3 campaign in 2019 that concluded with a 49-24 win over Southern California, this group of seniors faced an emotionally draining 2020 in racial bias studies and consequences That summer brought heated talks, the ousting of longtime strength coach Chris Doyle and threats to tear down a celebrity 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 revive it amid strict safety protocols that sometimes quarantine players for four weeks at a time. These have been exhausting days for everyone, to say the least.