IOWA CITY — Yes, Iowa needs depth at running back. And yes, Micah Hyde knows a thing or two about running the football.
He was a high school quarterback who rushed for 3,443 yards and 46 touchdowns while growing up in Fostoria, Ohio.
But no, he won’t be called on — even in extreme situations.
“Oh sure, I’d do it, but it’s not likely to happen,” Hyde said. “I love to have the ball in my hands. I like the pressure being on me.
“I don’t want to come off the field. After my freshman year (of high school), I can’t remember one play when I wasn’t on the field.”
He kicked. He punted. He caught passes. He threw them. He tackled.
“Gym rat is the word that comes to mind,” Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz said. “A gym rat.”
This rat, however, is a cornerback — one of the best in the country — and that’s how things will remain as Hyde starts his senior season Sept. 1 against Northern Illinois at Soldier Field in Chicago.
He was a preseason all-Big Ten choice. Athlon Magazine tabbed him one of the top “cover corners” in the country.
“We’re not only looking for him to play well, we’re also looking for Micah to lead,” said Phil Parker, the new defensive coordinator who used to coach Iowa’s secondary. “He’s been around a long time.”
Hyde has seven interceptions the past two seasons. The only returning conference player with more during that time is Michigan State’s Isaiah Lewis (8).
“(Iowa) had two good corners last year,” Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray said. “Hyde’s still there, right?”
Shaun Prater? Gone.
“We had a friendly rivalry,” Hyde said. “We kept things interesting.”
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Hyde needs three interceptions to move into the school’s top 10 list. He has two interceptions returned for touchdowns — one shy of school record-holder Tom Knight.
“He has a certain ‘wow’ factor to him,” said his high school coach, Tom Grine, who played football at Iowa from 1974-76. “Once he’s got the ball, people have trouble tackling him.”
Not bad for a guy who was almost a recruiting afterthought.
“It’s fair to say that the hardest position to evaluate from a recruiting aspect is defensive back,” Ferentz said. “Sometimes you don’t even see the (defensive backs) on film.”
It happened to Hyde.
“I was under everyone’s radar,” he said. “I wasn’t highly recruited.”
That’s Iowa mantra — turn a lesser-known recruit into a star.
“I think I was the last recruit to sign in my class,” Hyde said of the 18 players who signed in 2009. “Keenan (Davis) thought ‘who the hell is Micah Hyde?’ ”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football