Spring Prospectus: Running Backs

April 4, 2011

Written by Jon Miller

Hawkeye Nation

Each year, Iowa puts forth a Spring Prospectus, and in it they break down the team position by position. It’s interesting to read what the folks inside the hallways of the Hayden Fry football complex approve to be placed inside the prospectus, and we have shared this in position by position looks for a number of years. The comments and opinions below come from the Iowa Football Spring Prospectus, which can be downloaded in its entirety by visiting this link.

RUNNING BACK

Last year this section stated, “Just about every football coach will say, you can never have too much depth at running back”. Never were words more prophetic than those words, for Iowa last season. The Hawkeyes entered the 2010 season with a problem of what to do with so many talented running backs. Injuries, a player quitting school and other off the field problems forced Iowa to end the season with a true freshman running back for the second straight year. It proved to be the third time in the last seven years (2004, 2009, and 2010) that Ferentz had to dig deep in the running back depth chart by the time the season ended. Fortunately, the talent and depth has always been there.

The Hawkeyes began 2010 fall practice with Jewel Hampton, Brandon Wegher and Adam Robinson leading the charge. All three were off the roster by the time Iowa headed for the Insight Bowl. Robinson led the team in rushing the last two years.

Sophomore Marcus Coker (6-0, 230) started four of Iowa’s final five games and goes into spring drills as the top running back. He’s a strong straight-ahead runner with a style similar to former Hawkeye Shonn Greene. Coker rushed 33 times for 219 yards at the Insight Bowl. Both figures are Iowa bowl records. He was named Offensive MVP of the 2010 Insight Bowl. The 219 yards is the sixth best rushing game in Hawkeye history. His 2010 totals show 114 carries for 622 yards (5.5 avg.) and three touchdowns. He averaged 89 yards per game. Pretty heady stuff for a true freshman.

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There’s plenty of talent, but not much collegiate experience behind Coker. Junior Jason White (5-10, 205), moved from defensive back to running back last season and is listed second on the depth chart. He played in 11 games, but rushed only once for 14 yards.

Two redshirt freshmen fill out the depth chart. Both are talented and expect to get a good look this spring from running backs coach Lester Erb. They are De’Andre Johnson (5-8, 200) and Marcus Binns (5-11, 190).

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FULLBACK

Gone is three-year starter Brett Morse. He started 12 games games last year and had 34 career starts to his credit. He was a strong dependable runner-blocker for the Hawkeyes. He rushed nine times for 45 yards and caught 21 passes for 128 yards and two touchdowns during his career. The stability he provided to the Iowa backfield will be missed.

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Sophomore Brad Rogers (5-10, 225) came to Iowa as a running back, but his size made the move to fullback quite natural. He’ll enter spring drills atop the fullback depth chart. He played in 11 games, starting one, last season. He had 11 rushes for 75 yards and caught two passes for 15 yards. He’s the only returning player, with experience, at fullback.

Backing up Rogers will be a quartet of student-athletes. Junior Jonathan Gimm (6-3, 240) moves from tight end and is the only other letterman at this position. Behind Gimm will be sophomore Jacob Reisen (6-2, 231), redshirt freshman Matt Meyers (6-2, 215) and junior Cameron Olson (6-1, 232).
Rogers appears to be a strong number one, but this is a position for young talent to show what they have during spring practice.

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