ESPN.com’s Adam Rittenberg ranked Iowa QB Ricky Stanzi at No. 23 on Wendnesday on his Big Ten football blog. Today, Rittenberg put Iowa middle linebacker Pat Angerer at No. 20 on his list of the conference’s top 30 players.
Angerer’s story got lost last season behind Shonn Greene and the semi-ressurection of Iowa football. But it’s as compelling as any Iowa storylines from last season.
As a sophomore in 2007, the senior from Bettendorf began fall camp with mononucleosis. Then, it was pulled groin and hamstring muscles and then an injured shoulder.
“It just seemed like every time something good happened, something bad would happen,” Angerer told The Gazette’s Scott Dochterman last August. “There was a lot of negativity. Mentally, it sort of drained me out.”
He played in just four games and missed five of the last six. He had just one tackle. As a freshman, Iowa coaches saw something in Angerer. At Michigan, they even lined him up as a rush end on passing downs. Then, the ’07 season from hell happened.
“It’s been a long hard road,” Angerer said after Iowa’s victory over ISU last season. “I almost packed my bags a couple of times. I almost quit and made that decision, but I’m really blessed.”
Angerer became emotional when he talked about giving football another shot.
“I was hurt and people don’t realize when you’re hurt, it’s so depressing,” he said. “I was just real depressed last year, real down. I couldn’t even watch football last year — that’s how much it affected me.
“I blamed football for all my troubles, and that wasn’t really it.”
As 2008 began, Angerer was in a neck-and-neck race with Jacody Coleman, who’ll likely redshirt in ’09, for No. 1 on the depth chart. As ’08 ended, Angerer was second-team all-Big Ten. He led the Hawkeyes with 107 tackles. He tied for the team- and Big Ten-lead with five intereceptions. He also had 6.5 tackles for loss, six of which came in Iowa’s final five games.
His finest moment came against Wisconsin, racking up a career-high 16 tackles, two interceptions and knocking running back P.J. Hill out of the game with a vicious shot in the second quarter. His two interceptions came when he slid over to weakside linebacker, replacing injured Jeremiha Hunter.
“Pat has been playing very well,” coach Kirk Ferentz said. “Today (after the Wisconsin game) was a little bit more evident with the amount of tackles and the interceptions. But he’s another guy who’s really battled. He’s gone through adversity, and he’s really just stuck to his core values.”
Here’s Scott’s interview with Angerer after Iowa’s open practice on April 18. (Video by Scott, Hawkeye AV Club charter member)