Akrum Wadley is determined to prove that college football recruiting is still very much an inexact science.
He wants to prove that some kids still slip under the radar, even at a time when the recruiting landscape is saturated with recruiting websites and talent evaluators.
Wadley, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound running back from Newark, N.J., also wants to reward Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz for being the only BCS coach to believe in him enough to offer him a scholarship.
“I’m so hungry,” Wadley said Sunday shortly after making a verbal commitment to Iowa while on his official visit. “I’m getting it done every day. I’m doing 500 push-ups and everything I need to do.”
Wadley was previously committed to Temple, but changed his mind after Ferentz reached out to him late in the recruiting process.
Wadley now is among at least 18 recruits that are expected to sign letters of intent with Iowa on Wednesday, which marks the start of the national signing period for football.
Receiver Anjeus Jones also committed to Iowa on Sunday after taking his official visit this weekend. Jones, who is from Dallas, Texas, was previously committed to Colorado State.
Wadley rushed for 1,326 yards and scored 20 touchdowns as a senior for Weequahic High School. He also averaged 13 yards per carry and returned two punts for touchdowns.
But he still went mostly unnoticed until Temple extended an offer about two weeks ago. Wadley then committed to the Owls while visiting the Temple campus in Philadelphia.
“I’ve always asked myself that and I’ve asked my coaches that,” Wadley said of why he wasn’t more heavily recruited. “They just told me that my highlights didn’t get out there like how they wanted them to. It was late.
“So I’m like, alright. That’s just motivation.”
Wadley said it wasn’t easy breaking ties with Temple, but he just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to play for a Big Ten school. He also wants to get away from Newark and experience a different part of the country.
“The Big Ten, that’s a big conference and one of the highest competition levels that I can compete at, so that was the best thing for me,” Wadley said.
The Iowa coaches want Wadley to get stronger in order to play running back. But Wadley said offensive coordinator Greg Davis also discussed the possibility of using Wadley as a slot receiver.
“They were talking about putting me in at running back and slot receiver,” Wadley said. “They were talking about moving me around because I can play pretty much anything.”
Wadley’s motivation will come from more than just proving the doubters wrong. He also wants to be a positive role model for his two younger brothers and show that you can be successful if you work hard and make the right decisions in life.
“Another thing that’s motivation is a lot of young ones who are looking up to me to be better, including my younger brothers,” Wadley said. “They’re watching me. So that’s more motivation.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football