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Tag:Iowa Hawkeyes
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:45 pm
 

Ex-Iowa RB Coker transferring to Stony Brook

Blessed with a well-coached offensive line and a pro-style offensive attack that features the run, the Iowa Hawkeyes seemingly always have a strong running attack under Kirk Ferentz.

Unfortunately, rarely during Ferentz's recent tenure have his running backs been able to remain as the starter for more than a season. Not since the days of Albert Young (who left in 2007) have the Hawkeyes have enjoyed any real continuity at running back. Each of the past five seasons, in fact, Iowa has had a different player lead the team in either rushing yardage, rushing touchdowns or both. 

The turnover will continue in 2012 due to the fact that Iowa's leading incumbent rusher Marcus Coker will be taking his talents to FCS powerhouse Stony Brook. 

Coker, who led the Hawkeyes with 1,384 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011, was suspended from the team prior to the Insight Bowl matchup against Oklahoma. The reason for his suspension and subsequent surprise releasal from his scholarship by Iowa entirely hasn't been made public other than that his actions constituted a violation of the university's Student Athlete's Code of Conduct. Coker was investigated after a woman claimed he sexually assaulted her in October but played during the investigation and was never formally charged of any crime. 

Despite only one season as a fulltime starter for the Hawkeyes, Coker had already established himself as a potential pro prospect. Coker, in fact, ranked No. 6 on NFLDraftScout.com's 2014 RB rankings. 

Listed by Iowa at 6-0, 230 pounds, Coker is a physical back with good vision and surprising burst for a player of his size. Coker is on pace to graduate and, according to Stony Brook head coach Chuck Priore, was very interested in his new university's academics as well as athletics. 

That said, a spectacular junior campaign could force Coker to consider leaving his new school early should the NFL come calling. Though it was injury and not an investigation that prompted another former Iowa running back -- Jewel Hampton -- to transfer to Southern Illinois a year ago, he too sounded like a player willing to spend two seasons with his new program rather than making the attempted jump to the pros. 

Instead, after rushing for 1,121 yards and a conference-leading 21 touchdowns this season, Hampton headed off to the NFL

Just as they did with Hampton at Southern Illinois, scouts will certainly be keeping an eye on Coker at Stony Brook, whether it be for the 2013 or 2014 draft.   

Posted on: January 12, 2012 10:24 pm
Edited on: January 12, 2012 11:36 pm
 

Iowa-transfer Hampton leaving Salukis for NFL


Southern Illinois running back Jewel Hampton is taking advantage of a breakout 2011 campaign in which he led the Missouri Valley Football Conference with 17 touchdowns and 1,121 rushing yards to put his name into the NFL lottery.

The news was broken not by Hampton nor Southern Illinois but by a release from St.Vincent Sports Performance, a Pre-Combine Training group with which Hampton apparently will be working with in preparation for NFL testing. Hampton's name was among 15 prospects St. Vincent listed as having signed with the group for 2012. Most notable among were two other juniors -- former Oregon cornerback and return specialist Cliff Harris and San Diego State star running back Ronnie Hillman.
 
Hampton transferred to SIU 2011 after being a member of the Iowa Hawkeyes for the past three seasons. Hampton played very well as a true freshman for the Hawkeyes, emerging as Shonn Greene's primary backup and actually setting the school record for first year players with seven rushing touchdowns (along with 463 yards). Expected to take over for Greene in 2009, Hampton instead tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and took a medical redshirt. After a successful rehabilitation, Hampton once again appear poised to compete for big playing time for the Hawkeyes in 2010 but tragically suffered another torn ACL, this time to his left knee.

The loss of back to back seasons due to injury convinced Hampton that a change of scenery was best and he transferred to the Salukis.

He rushed for over 100 yards six times in 2011 and added 163 receiving yards to finish fourth in the MVFC in all-purpose yardage and was named the conference's Newcomer of the Year.

Hampton's path from BCS to FCS is hardly a new one. In fact, the last Saluki to be named the conference's Newcomer of the Year also transferred from a prominent BCS school.

Brandon Jacobs had played behind Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams at Auburn but elected to transfer for his senior season to get a greater opportunity at seeing the field. Jacobs, by comparison, ran for 992 yards and 19 scores for the Salukis in 2004. The New York Giants drafted him in the fourth round (No. 110 overall).

The 5-09, 210 pound Hampton is no Jacobs (6-4, 260) clone but does possess some of the skills to catch the attention of NFL scouts. Hampton is quick to the hole and shows good lateral agility. Due to his low center of gravity and determined running, Hampton is a surprisingly stout load to bring to the ground.

Hampton is currently ranked as NFLDraftScout.com's No. 29 running back in the 2013 class. Considering his injuries and the fact the running back class is shaping up to be 2012's deepest position, Hampton may only get late round or even free agent consideration. Jewel, however, does have enough shine to get an extended look.




Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:51 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2012 3:37 pm
 

Iowa's Reiff third top OT to declare for draft

Iowa's Riley Reiff will enter the NFL Draft, becoming the third top-rated offensive tackle by NFLDraftScout.com to announce he is leaving school with a year of eligibility remaining.

He joins Southern California's Matt Kalil, who declared last month he was leaving for the NFL, and Stanford's Jonathan Martin, who made his announcement earlier Tuesday. All three are considered potential picks in the top half of the first round in April.

"Riley made his own decision," Reiff's mother, Jo, told the Des Moines Register. "We didn't help him out in any way. What he decided was OK with us.

"He finally came up with the decision."
  
Reiff, 6-feet-6 and 300 pounds, is the No. 5-rated overall prospect for 2012 by NFLDraftScout.com and is No. 10 on Rob Rang's Big Board. He has been a standout on the Hawkeyes' line since starting 11 of 13 games in 2009 while seeing time at left tackle, left guard and right tackle. He took the left tackle spot over fulltime in 2010, filling in for first-round pick Bryan Bulaga.
  
Iowa running back Marcus Coker had seven 100-yard rushing games in 2011, with Reiff leading the effort in the run blocking.
  
Unlike Bulaga, Reiff is considered a left tackle prospect in the NFL. He's athletic enough to stone speed rushers and plays with tenacity in the run game.
  
Meanwhile, running back Mika’il McCall, who was suspended for the final two games of the season, told the Register by text message that he will not be returning to the program.
Posted on: January 3, 2012 10:51 pm
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Posted on: April 26, 2011 10:34 am
Edited on: April 26, 2011 11:29 am
 

Report: Houston, Ballard failed combine drug test

Georgia outside linebacker/defensive end Justin Houston and Iowa defensive lineman Christian Ballard failed drug tests at the scouting combine in Indianapolis in February, according to a report by FOXSports.com.

Houston is a converted defensive end who registered 10 sacks as a junior in a pass-rushing role created for him by the Bulldogs' defensive staff, and he jumped on the opportunity to leave Georgia after his junior season. He has been considered a late-first or second-round draft value and is the No. 44-rated player overall by NFLDraftScout.com.

Houston has been an intriguing prospect for 3-4 teams because he already has a season of experience rushing off the edge, compared to most converted defensive ends who need to make a completely new transition to the role in the NFL. However, he's also considered a one-trick pony who is more athlete than football player at this point and might lack the explosiveness to develop into an elite pass rusher in the NFL.

Ballard has been projected as a second-round pick and is the 59th-rated prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, including the 10th-rated player in a very deep defensive end class. He has experience inside and outside and plays with explosion and hustle. A tight end when he arrived at Iowa, Ballard is excellent in one-on-one drills but struggles to make impact plays once the whistle blows.

Neither player has any previous records involving marijuana, according to the FOXSports.com report. If the reports of a failed drug test are true, it could significantly impact both players, who were already entering the draft fighting the dreaded 'tweener label as excellent athletes who might lack an ideal position in the NFL.

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor

Posted on: February 8, 2011 1:19 pm
 

Most charges dropped, DJK gets one year probation

Iowa wide receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos appeared to have destroyed any chance of playing professional football with the news two months ago that he and roommate Brady Cooper Johnson  were arrested on multiple drug-related charges. DJK, as he was affectionately referred to by those close to the Hawkeye program, was officially charged with four counts of possession of controlled substances, two counts of unlawful possession of prescription drugs and one count of keeping a drug house.

Now, according to documents obtained by NFLDraftScout.com, Johnson-Koulianos has had all but one of these charges dropped - a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana. He received a deferred judgment on this charge. As such Johnson Koulianoas will require unsupervised probation for one year.  In the event he remains drug free, completes counseling and remains free of any difficulty with the law, the court indicated it would consider discharge from unsupervised probation within six months.

Essentially, if Johnson-Koulianos doesn't screw up, he can have his record wiped clean in six months. He had no criminal record prior to these charges and has taken and passed drug tests as part of the initial ruling.

The news could be enough to get DJK a shot at the NFL. Iowa's all-time leading receiver enjoyed a strong performance in last Saturday's NFLPA game, helping his cause after a rather ho-hum weak of practice. The interviews with scouts there were the most important component of his week, however, as Johnson-Koulianos was not invited to the Combine.

Johnson-Koulianos holds the school career records for receptions (173) and receiving yards (2,616). He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection as a senior after catching 46 passes for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns.

As always, for the best in NFL draft coverage, be sure to check out NFLDraftScout.com .
Posted on: August 21, 2010 11:59 pm
Edited on: August 22, 2010 12:22 am
 

Bulaga impressive as GB's backup LT, LG

If the season goes as hoped for the Green Bay Packers, first round pick Bryan Bulaga won't see much time at left tackle. The Packers feature former Pro Bowler Chad Clifton on the left side and certainly don't want to have to trust Aaron Rodgers' blindside protection with a rookie.

However, with Clifton, Rodgers and the rest of Green Bay's starters comfortably on the sideline, Bulaga has been impressive working againt Seattle's starting defense throughout the second quarter of the team's preseason game tonight.

Bulaga, playing left tackle matched up against Seattle's best pass rusher -- DE Chris Clemons -- throughout much of the second quarter. While Clemons has occasionally challenged Bulaga with a speed rush, the former Iowa Hawkeye has done a nice job protecting backup quarterback Matt Flynn and providing big running lanes.

Bulaga has the footwork necessary to remain at left tackle, though he isn't an elite athlete. He's shown good upper body strength, routinely latching onto Clemons and controlling him. Bulaga's anchor has also been impressive. Clemons was flagged late in the second quarter for getting his hands too high into Bulaga's facemask, but the No. 23 overall pick of the 2010 draft held his ground surprisingly well. He's also done a nice job in the running game, popping Clemons quickly and turning him either inside to set the edge or outside to open up a clear gap for the Packers' backup runners.

Beginning in the third quarter, Bulaga was moved inside to left guard. While his play there has been solid, his inexperience at the position was obvious. Quinn Pitcock, a backup defensive tackle struggling to earn a roster spot, beat him off the snap on a few occasions with a quick burst early on. There were also times when his initial punch was too high, giving the Seattle DTs an opportunity to rush the passer after being stopped initially. As the third quarter went on, however, Bulaga seemed to gain confidence inside. Again, the power that was evident against Clemons when playing left tackle proved helpful at left guard. Bulaga was consistently able to land the initial pop to the defender and generate running lanes.

Currently listed as the backup left tackle and left guard for the Packers, Bulaga is likely to see plenty of playing time as a rookie.

If tonight's performance was any indication, Bulaga appears capable of helping immediately and like a potential future standout at whatever position the Packers most need help along the left side.



Posted on: January 5, 2010 1:58 pm
 

Bulaga vs. Morgan, best of the bowl matchups

When the bowl matchups were released in December the Orange Bowl immediately struck me as the season's most intriguing game.

Just from a entertainment perspective, this game intrigues. Paul Johnson's innovative triple option offense is a great test for an Iowa defense that I believe to be as disciplined and consistent as any in the country. The Yellow Jackets are so talented at the skill positions that even if Iowa plays their typically sound defense, running backs Jonathan Dwyer and Anthony Adams or huge receiver Demaryius Thomas could break free for a dazzling play.

The matchup I and many NFL scouts will be focusing in on, however, will be on the other side of the ball and at the line of scrimmage where Georgia Tech defensive end Derrick Morgan will be matching up with Iowa offensive tackles Bryan Bulaga and Kyle Calloway.

Morgan, only a junior, was voted the ACC Defensive Player of the Year with 18 tackles for loss, including 12.5 sacks. He's got an explosive first, good upper body strength to shed blocks and the agility that have some teams envisioning the 6-4, 265 pounder making the conversion to outside linebacker in the 3-4 scheme.

The rare combination of traits certainly has caught the attention of Bulaga, the Hawkeyes' junior left tackle. As Bulaga told the Omaha World-Herald:

“He's probably the best I'll have seen this year, probably the best a lot of us will see any year,” Bulaga said. “He's relentless,” Bulaga said. “He's a bigger guy so he can play the run very well. I think there's a lot to his game that you can like. “He brings a lot of different pass-rushing moves. His in move is very quick. He's got a great first step. There's a lot of things to his game that are just so good right now that it's hard not to give a guy like that praise.”
For all of the attention being heaped upon Morgan, however, don't sleep on Bulaga. Like senior right tackle Kyle Calloway, Bulaga plays with excellent technique and good strength. He wasn't himself early in the year due to a thyroid condition that forced him to miss three games. He's improved as the season has gone, however, and has cemented himself as a legitimate top 20 prospect. For all of the talk about Rutgers' Anthony Davis and Maryland's Bruce Campbell, Bulaga is more technically refined and, at only 20 years old, has greater upside. At 6-6, 312 pounds, he has rare foot quickness and balance in the passing and could surprise Morgan with his ability to protect the edge.

Look for Tech to move Morgan all over the field in an effort to take advantage of his unique skill-set. On the occassions when he lines up against Bulaga, however, lean in closer to the television. Their one on one matchup looks like the best one we've had throughout the entire bowl season. It also serves as the closest most college fans will ever get to seeing the one on one "battles in the pit" that have made senior all-star games like the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl such a unique scouting experience. Considering that these two future first round picks are juniors, and thus, ineligible, this will be their opportunity to show off.

 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com