As spring practice heats up across the Big Ten, depth charts are starting to take shape and jobs are being claimed for the fall. Spots can still be earned during training camp in August, but March and April provide a prime opportunity to make a move and potentially solidify areas of uncertainty on the roster. Across the league, we're looking at which position battles could be the most critical during the 15 spring practices.
Up next: Iowa.
1. Receiver: The Hawkeyes will be a veteran team without a whole lot of open position battles, though there will be some changing of roles. Matt VandeBerg is solidly the team's top wideout, and Jerminic Smith seems entrenched at the No. 2 spot. Senior Riley McCarron was listed as a starter on the team's two-deep released in January, but he could get pushed by youngsters Adrian Falconer and Jay Scheel. There could also be intrigue at tight end. George Kittle is the only returning veteran, and his backup at the moment, Jameer Outsey, is a converted linebacker. Iowa could use more firepower at the receiving spots to complement C.J. Beathard.
2. Fullback: This isn't a spot that gets much attention, and with the rise of spread offenses it doesn't even exist for many teams. But the Hawkeyes still believe in using a fullback to help the running game, and their main two guys from a year ago -- Macon Plewa and Adam Cox -- graduated. Brady Ross and Drake Kulick will vie for the role this spring. You may not find it exciting, but Kirk Ferentz will definitely be watching it closely.
3. Kicker/punter: Again, not exactly a glamorous set of battles, but important nonetheless. Marshall Koehn and his big leg have moved on, opening a spot at kicker. Miguel Recinos and Mick Ellis are the top two competitors for the job, and hopefully for the Hawkeyes one of them will be more consistent on extra points. Colten Rastetter appears to be in line now for the punter's gig, replacing Dillon Kidd, though Recinos could make some noise there. Graduate transfer Ron Coluzzi arrives this summer. He handled both punting and kickoffs last season for Central Michigan and was their field goal kicker in 2013.