The list of walk-ons who have made significant contributions to the success under University of Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz is well documented, and for good reason. You can add another name to the list: Matt Tobin.
The key ingredient for the success of the Hawkeye football team is hard work. It is no different for Tobin, a senior offensive lineman from Worthington, Iowa, who originally joined the Hawkeyes as a walk-on.
Ferentz and the coaching staff noticed his toughness and work ethic immediately during the recruiting process.
"The thing that stood out about Matt most during the early years was he was a tough, competitive guy," said Ferentz. "He worked really hard. He had some work to do, but he was a tough competitive guy. He showed that all the time at practice."
Tobin's work ethic has pushed him to this point.
"It put a chip on my shoulder as I have gone through my career," said Tobin, a 6-foot-6 offensive lineman. "First, I was excited to be on the team. Then, I wanted to make it to the two-deeps and slowly work my way up and be the best I can be."
After joining the team as a walk-on in 2008, the former Dyersville Beckman High School standout was listed as second team left tackle heading into 2010. In 2011, he made 10 starts at left guard. Tobin started the first seven contests at left guard this season, before sliding over a spot to answer the call at left tackle in place of the injured Brandon Scherff. He made his first career starts on the outside in the last two games.
Ferentz has been pleased with his play, regardless of where he has lined up.
"Matt has a great attitude," said Ferentz. "He works hard. It wasn't like moving the earth last week when we slid him out there. He jumped right in there and did a good job."
Tobin developed his work ethic early on. His mother grew up on a farm, and both of her brothers were dairy farmers. Tobin spent a lot of time helping out on the farms, specifically, milking cows.
As a result, he has an appreciation for the work done by farmers.
"A lot of people ask me, 'what does that mean?'" said Tobin about the ANF decal Iowa sports on its helmets. "I say America Needs Farmers, which is true. A lot of my buddies back home grew up on farms. Many are dairy farmers. They work really hard and do not take anything for granted. It is tough work."
Tobin has the same mindset. He embraces hard work and takes nothing for granted.
"Iowans, in general, all work hard and are nice people," he said. "That is what I base my work off of."
Tobin appreciates and understands the meaning of ANF, and is proud to wear the decal.
"It is really special," he said. "You are representing a lot of people."
The Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa Farm Bureau are proud to recognize the ANF logo as a testament to the Farm Strong families of Iowa.
Iowa's farmers are the cornerstone of the state of Iowa, its way of life and a significant economic engine for the state and the Heartland, just as hard-working student-athletes like Matt Tobin are the cornerstone of the success of the Hawkeye football program.