Entering spring practice, Iowa’s running back situation was questionable. Now however, they might need to scour campus for any type of football talent they can find.
The projected starter this fall had been sophomore Jordan Canzeri. That was until Canzeri tore his ACL in practice on Wednesday. The injury was confirmed on Thursday when Canzeri underwent an MRI.
The good news is that there was no other structural damage in the knee meaning he could return to the field in September although it’s believed the injury will force him to take a redshirt for the 2012 season.
The Hawkeyes have had more than a little bit of bad luck with running backs in the recent past and Canzeri’s injury only adds to the agony. He stepped into the starting role last year in the Insight Bowl filling in for the suspended Marcus Coker after getting only nine carries during the regular season. Since then Coker and their number two running back, Mika’il McCall, have both transferred leaving the Hawks with little depth at the position.
Canzeri’s replacement as the Hawks top back most likely falls to sophomore, Damon Bullock, after rushing 10 times for 20 yards last year as a freshman. Next in line would be sophomore De’Andre Johnson who had a grand total of 18 carries for 79 yards a season ago.
And after that, it’s anyone’s guess, at least until fall camp rolls around.
Iowa has two incoming freshmen set to arrive on campus in June and they’ll likely be thrust into action out of pure necessity. Greg Garmon is a four-star recruit out of Erie, Pennsylvania and Barkely Hill is a three-star player from Cedar Falls, Iowa both who will have a chance to showcase their skills sooner than most expected.
“When you recruit guys, they see an opportunity that they’re going to come in and have a chance to play, and fortunately over the past couple years, we’ve been able to sell that,” running back coach Lester Erb said. “There’s going to be opportunities for guys.”
That’s great for the guys coming in, yes, but that also creates a whole lot of uncertainty for a team looking to improve on back-to-back 7-6 seasons. Unfortunately for Iowa, they may not have the answer as to who will be the guy until sometime deep into fall camp and even that may be a bit optimistic.