|Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press|
|Iowa offensive tackle Brandon Scherff intends to return for his senior season.|
The NFL will have to wait on Iowa junior offensive tackle Brandon Scherff.
Scherff told KDSN, a radio station in his hometown of Denison, Iowa, that he will stay in school for his senior season.
Scherff (6-foot-5, 315 pounds) rocketed up draft boards this fall, and was seen by some as a potential first-round pick if everything went right in his pre-draft preparations. If he indeed does stay in school, he should head into the 2014 season as one of the top three offensive tackles in the nation.
Scherff told KDSN he would take out an insurance policy in case of injury.
Scherff was a bit of an unknown commodity heading into the season. He was playing at a high level as a sophomore in 2012 before suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle in Game 7. But he returned with no ill-effects and was dominant this season; he was a first-team pick on the coaches' All-Big Ten squad.
Scherff played guard as a redshirt freshman in 2011, starting three times, before moving to left tackle in 2012, and he is especially proficient as a run blocker thanks to quick feet and brute strength. In July, Iowa posted a video on YouTube of a Scherff weightlifting session in which he hang-cleans 410 pounds three times.
Before the season, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told the Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette that Scherff's situation was similar to the ones that faced former Iowa left tackles Riley Reiff and Bryan Bulaga, who were selected in the first round after declaring early for draft.
"It's realistic to think that could happen," Ferentz told the Gazette in August. "If he ends up in the same seat as Riley or Bryan, that's a good seat to sit in. You can't really make a wrong decision there. ... The challenge for Brandon is to get in that seat."
Many observers seem to think Scherff is in that seat.
Scherff started at quarterback as a sophomore at Denison (Iowa) High before moving to the line as a junior. He also played basketball, baseball and tennis in high school.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.