Hawkeyes Run in the Family

Brian Ferentz was 16 when his dad Kirk was hired as the head coach of the Iowa Football team. Three years later he’d be wearing the black and gold himself, playing for his dad in one of college football’s most competitive conferences.

The All-Big Ten offensive linemen won two big ten championships playing for the Hawkeyes and started every single game of his senior season.

He was awarded the team’s annual Hayden Fry award following his final season, which goes to a Hawkeye that displays outstanding efforts on the field.

After graduating with a degree in history in 2006, Ferentz took a stab at the NFL. He signed as a free agent with Falcons after going undrafted and bounced around from their practice squad to the Saints training camp before wrapping up his two-year pro career.

Just a couple years later he’d be back in the NFL, this time as a coach.

Ferentz got his start with the New England Patriots. He began as a scouting assistant under Bill Belichick, who his father coached under in Cleveland back when Belichick was with the Browns.

In 2011 Ferentz was promoted to the team’s tight ends coach. He was responsible for developing two rookie tight ends that year, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. The two would become the first rookie tight end duo with at least five touchdowns a pop in NFL history.

In Ferentz’s time with coaching them, the two set single-season records in total touchdowns, receptions, and yards as a tight end duo.

Family Reunion

A year later he made his way back to college football.

Fortunate enough for Ferentz Iowa was hiring. He was hired as the Hawkeye’s offensive line coach in 2012. It gave him the opportunity to coach the guys that were in the exact same position he was, not to mention the opportunity to work with his father once again.

Instead of taking plays from his, he was now helping him draw them up. Ferentz coached Iowa’s linemen for several seasons before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2017.

In his first year calling plays for the Hawkeye offense, Iowa made the Rose Bowl. Ferentz still handles the x’s and o’s, and he’s in charge of tight ends now as well.

He’s been responsible for some monster numbers from the duo of T.J. Hockenson and Noah Fant. The two are ranked No. 5 and No. 11 in the nation in total receptions from a tight end respectively. And they’re making noise on early mock draft boards as well.

Last year ESPN included him on its list of its top Big Ten assistant coaches under 40 years old. Ferentz certainly could return to NFL coaching ranks again one day. His name popped up in rumors for an offensive assistant job with Texans after former Patriot colleague Bill O’Brien was hired to coach Houston.

Why Play for Him?

Ferentz lives and breathes Iowa football, he was literally born into it (his dad started coaching for Iowa two years before Brian was born).

As far as success goes, few position coaches in the history of the NFL have realized the level of accomplishment Ferentz has. How many guys can say they coached the best tight end duo of all time, let alone rookies?

Despite the talented starters, Ferentz has been fortunate enough to coach, he’s always been able to develop great sidekicks to his stars, whether it’s been Gronkowski and Hernandez or Fant and Hockenson. Any recruit concerned about playing time or player development should feel more than comfortable putting their faith in Ferentz.