In the span of four days, the Iowa football team lost two running backs and ruled a third ineligible for its bowl game.
Hawkeye officials issued a statement Monday confirming tailback Jewel Hampton is seeking a transfer. Officials also announced that fellow running back Adam Robinson would miss the Insight Bowl on Dec. 28 after “failing to comply with team expectations and policies.”
On Friday, it was revealed that running back Brandon Wegher had been released from his scholarship and would transfer.
The sophomore trio was expected to share duties in the Iowa backfield this fall, but none was available when Iowa lost its regular-season finale at Minnesota.
Now, none will be available for the bowl game against Missouri.
“Jewel Hampton has decided to leave the team and plans to transfer to another school to complete his degree and finish his career,” coach Kirk Ferentz said in the statement. “We wish him the best of success in the future.”
Ferentz and athletic director Gary Barta will hold a press conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday, though Iowa declined to expand on details — and indicated no additional comment would be available until today.
Iowa officials contacted Sunday and most of the day Monday said they were unaware or could not confirm a change in the status of Hampton.
Hampton, a 5-foot-9, 210-pound native of Indianapolis, suffered a season-ending knee injury Sept. 18 at Arizona. It was the second straight year Hampton was sidelined after knee surgery.
His 2009 season ended in July after he was hurt during non-contact drills.
Hampton showed freshman flashes in 2008, finishing with 463 yards and seven touchdowns, while serving as the primary backup to all-American Shonn Greene.
“He’s shifty. He’s strong. And he’s powerful,” Hawkeye defensive end Adrian Clayborn said of Hampton before the season. “He has all of it.”
On Sunday, a man who answered the last known telephone for Hampton asked who was calling.
When a Des Moines Register reporter identified himself, the man said he was not Hampton and hung up.
Robinson, a former Des Moines Lincoln star, emerged as the Hawkeyes’ leading rusher this season, netting 941 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He suffered two concussions, however, and did not play during a 27-24 loss to the Gophers.
“While Adam has been cleared medically, he will not be participating in the upcoming Insight Bowl game as a result of failing to comply with team expectations and policies,” Ferentz said. “Adam will have the option to rejoin the team when classes resume in January.”
Three players have left the program in less than one week.
Wegher, a former Sioux City Heelan star, departed for personal reasons during summer camp in August and never returned.
In addition to Wegher and Hampton, Ferentz told reporters senior receiver Derrell Johnson-Koulianos would not play at Iowa again after his arrest on drug charges.
With Hampton, Wegher and Robinson out of the lineup, freshman Marcus Coker is the likely starter for the Insight Bowl.
Coker played in six games, rushing for 403 yards, while averaging 5.0 a carry.
Gambling site has Iowa off board
The Las Vegas gaming website VegasInsider.com indicated the Insight Bowl game between Iowa and Missouri has been “taken off the board” at most of the major casinos and operations that offer betting.
Games are pulled from wagering options when there are unanswered questions about important players.
Iowa announced Monday that injured running back Jewel Hampton has left the team, and starting running back Adam Robinson will miss the bowl game for “failing to comply with team expectations and policies.”
No reason was cited for Hampton’s departure. And it was no immediately clear if the Las Vegas reaction included questions about other Hawkeyes.
There are no known questions, however, about the status of Missouri players.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football