Tag:Southern Illinois
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: March 11, 2010 6:43 pm

Nation's leading rusher/Combine-snub wows scouts

The focus might have initially been on the Northwestern players at their Pro Day this morning, but the scouts representing an estimated 20 NFL teams instead got a show from the nation's leading rusher, Southern Illinois running back Deji Karim .

Karim rushed for 1,694 yards and 18 touchdowns this season for the Salukis and was noted as a player to watch after a solid showing at the Texas vs. Nation game.

Chad Reuter, who scouted the practices in person noted: Karim, however, looked powerful and quick as a runner and also a threat as a receiver on screens. He runs very low, making him hard to find and bring down.
Still, his production and solid showing at the TvN certainly didn't prepare scouts for the eye-popping workout he put forth Thursday.

Karim measured in at 5-8 3/4 and 209 pounds Thursday. He was timed by scouts in attendance at 4.38 seconds and posted a 43" vertical jump, a 10'3" broad jump and banged out 19 repetitions of 225 pounds.

Karim had been viewed as a late round or priority free agent prospect, but his spectacular results in the workout prove that his game-day prowess is no fluke. 

It is also important to note that several Salukis have gone on to enjoy NFL success -- the most recent big name being another running back with a very different style of running than the elusive Karim -- New York Giants' behemoth Brandon Jacobs.
I had referred to the Northwestern Pro Day in an earlier blog posting, but focused more on the Wildcats' players and Western Illinois cornerback Patrick Stoudamire, Jr, who, like Karim, wasn't invited to the Combine despite a sparkling collegiate career.

Stoudamire measured in at 5-10 1/4, 205 pounds. He looked fluid in positional drills and measured out well, turning in a 4.45 second dash in the 40, a 6.67 in the 3-cone, a 3.95 short shuttle and a 9'11 broad jump. Stoudamire also lifted the bar 11 times.

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