Iowa senior tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz will play his final college game Wednesday when the Hawkeyes face LSU in the Outback Bowl. The New Year’s Day bowl will cap a career that started slowly but will end with the former Johnsburg standout being the team’s second-leading receiver in the regular season with 26 catches and six touchdowns. Fiedorowicz will then turn his attention to the NFL and is expected to be one of the top tight end prospects for this spring’s NFL draft.
It’s surreal to think how fast my career has gone. I don’t think I will probably realize it until next year when I’m in an NFL training camp and I look back and think back to my teammates and the career I had here. After coming off a 4-8 season last year and after that last game against Nebraska, we were getting after it, working out five days a week. But all that time we put in paid off and we had two opponents [Northwestern and Michigan] who overlooked us. It’s huge for us to get to a bowl game like this because I haven’t been [to a New Year’s Day bowl] in the four years I’ve been here. So it’s huge for my career to end this way.
We’re used to being an underdog. I think we were the underdog in eight of the 12 games this year. But we never look at that stuff. It’s Iowa football – we don’t get the biggest recruits like Nebraska, Michigan or Ohio State, but we’re going to go in each week and compete and we’re going to play Iowa football – physical football – and we’re going to put up our best fight and we’re in every game. I think when we beat Northwestern in overtime – that really turned our season, and [beating] Michigan on Senior Day was probably my favorite one just because of it being my senior year, playing my last game at home and being able to celebrate with my teammates in the locker room. There’s just no better feeling.
It was definitely emotional in the locker room (after Michigan). If I could explain the moment, I would. It’s just something you have to experience. Obviously, everyone was screaming, dancing around, having a good time. I’m not a big crier – some guys cried – but I’m not that kind of a guy. I’m the kind of a guy who likes to have fun, celebrate with my guys and jump up and down and listen to music, going crazy and letting it all out. I would say I’m right up there with the best of them (as a dancer). When I’m just doing it and not thinking about it, it’s pretty good. But when I think about the moves, it can get ugly.
It’s always been my dream to play at the next level. I’ve talked to agents, I’ve heard from (NFL) teams, but I’m not too focused on that because it’s still coming. But everyone thinks about it. I’ve thought about it and how much harder it’s going to be. I don’t know what to expect, but it’s another level and it’s another chapter in my life. But I’m excited just to prove to my friends and my family that I can do it from a small town like Johnsburg. All the hard work I’ve put in is just going to pay off. I remember telling my friends that I was going to play in the NBA or MLB or NFL and they always said, “There’s no way – do you know the percentage of guys that make it?” But I told them, “I’m going to prove you guys wrong one day.” To actually do it is going to make everyone in my town proud along with my friends and my family.
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