Iowa City, Iowa — Iowa senior safety Brandon Snyder is leaving the program as a graduate transfer and offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs will be suspended for the season opener after getting charged with intoxicated driving.
Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz announced both moves on Tuesday.
Snyder’s departure was a bit of a surprise. The Larchwood, Iowa, native spent most of the past two years working his way back onto the field after twice tearing the ACL in his left knee.
Snyder returned last season and brought back an interception 89 yards for a touchdown in his debut against Illinois, but re-injured his knee in the same game.
Snyder was then suspended for last season’s Pinstripe Bowl after being charged with drunken driving. He was expected to be ready to compete for playing time when the season starts on Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois.
The loss of Snyder will likely elevate fellow senior Jake Gervase to a starting job — though the Hawkeyes (8-5 in 2018) have a number of young prospects in the secondary.
“Brandon is a fifth-year senior who has earned his undergraduate degree and wants to see as much playing time as possible,” Ferentz said. “We are allowing him to be released, which means he can play for another team immediately.”
Wirfs, a 19-year-old sophomore who is expected to start at right tackle, was arrested over the weekend. Police say Wirfs was driving a scooter and failed a field sobriety test with a 0.129 blood-alcohol level. In Iowa, the legal limit is 0.08 but for those under 21 the limit is 0.02.
Tennessee offensive lineman Trey Smith was dealing with blood clots in his lungs when he missed spring practice. Tennessee athletic department spokesman Zach Stipe confirmed Smith’s issue Tuesday. ESPN first reported it.