After two dominant years on Iowa’s defensive line despite never getting a college start, Lukas Van Ness is going to the NFL.
Van Ness, a redshirt sophomore for the Hawkeyes, will forgo the final two years of his eligibility. The 6-foot-5, 275-pound native of Barrington, Illinois, sent out his announcement on social media Tuesday.
“My time at Iowa was very special, and I will always be a Hawkeye,” Van Ness posted. “It was not an easy decision to leave the University of Iowa with remaining eligibility. It has been a lifelong dream of mine to play in the NFL.”
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Van Ness said he plans to complete his degree at Iowa, but his days as a Hawkeye player are done. He was the other major third-year Iowa player with an NFL decision; punter Tory Taylor announced after Saturday’s 21-0 win in the Music City Bowl that he would return for his fourth year.
Van Ness had 13 sacks in his time at Iowa while being a versatile chess piece on Kelvin Bell’s defensive line. He was an undersized defensive tackle a year ago and logged seven sacks, tying Joe Evans for the team lead. This year, he moved to defensive end during spring practice but wound up moving inside to help out with depth after Yahya Black’s foot injury. Van Ness was often dispatched in obvious passing situations.
He was rated the No. 25 overall prospects for the upcoming NFL Draft by The Athletic in November. At that time, Van Ness said he didn’t picture himself leaving Iowa. But after getting his grade back from the NFL Draft Advisory Board, Van Ness made the decision to leave now. A remarkable and athletic physical force with the nickname “Hercules,” Van Ness should test well at the NFL Draft Scouting Combine to reinforce himself as a Day 1 or 2 draft pick.