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BTN Analysts High on Hampton

August 20, 2010

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Scott Dochterman of the Cedar Rapids Gazette had some goodies on Friday with regards to Jewel Hampton.

The Big Ten Network crew was in Iowa City for a practice on Thursday night, and they left very impressed with the sophomore running back. From the story:

“Jewel Hampton looked phenomenal to me,” said Howard Griffith, who covered Iowa’s practice Thursday night as part of the network’s preseason tour of the league’s 11 schools. “I don’t think there’s any reason he won’t be, if he can stay healthy, one of the guys that’s up for the rushing title in the Big Ten this year.”

There are more quotes in the story, and you can read it here.

Griffith was a fullback for Illinois back in the early 1990’s and was also helping to pave the way for Terrell Davis and the Denver Broncos later that decade, so he knows a thing or two about running backs.

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Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said a couple of times last Saturday that Hampton had been practicing real well, and that “He looks like a guy that has been out of the game of football for a year,” meaning he is hungry.

While being forced to watch the magical 2009 season from the sidelines had to be tough on Hampton, who was the clear #1 back last summer before suffering an ACL injury, he could look back on that injury as a blessing one day.

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He had something that was very dear to him taken away…but now, he has it back. When something like that happens to you, you appreciate everything more. The air smells sweeter, the sun shines brighter, and two-a-day practices are like manna from heaven. That’s exactly how it sounds as it relates to Hampton in camp this year. He has a perspective that few of his teammates have; he has been given another chance to fulfill his dreams, so the aches and pains that go along with brutally hot practices in August roll right off his back, because it’s a lot easier to take than time with a physical therapist in the fall when your team is 9-0 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated and you feel like you aren’t a part of it.

Hampton will have to wait an extra game before he can show off his talents, as he is suspended for the Eastern Illinois game because of his offseason arrest…hopefully that was the final lesson that he had to learn, the last thing that he had to have taken away before bearing down and totally committing to what it means to be a student athlete on the Iowa football team.

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My guess is that if the offensive line opens up the holes against Iowa State, Hampton is going to look like greased lightning.

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