Markel Smith’s rugged running style has drawn comparisons to former Iowa all-American Shonn Greene. And now they have something else in common.
Smith, an Iowa running back recruit from St. Louis, will attend Milford Academy in New Berlin, N.Y., this fall to work on his academics. He also will play for the prep school’s highly successful football team.
Greene attended Milford Academy in 2004 before enrolling at Iowa in 2005. Former Iowa all-Big Ten running back Fred Russell also attended Milford Academy before joining the Hawkeyes in 2001.
“He belongs here,” Milford Academy coach Bill Chaplick said of Smith, who rushed for more than 7,000 yards in high school. “He belongs with those guys in name. He’s got some talent.
“If he could come in as a high school kid, this is college football because we play against college (junior-varsity teams), if he can come in and make the adjustment like Shonn and the rest of them did, he’ll be a star and he’ll go on and be an Iowa player. It’ll be endless how far he can go.”
Smith hasn’t responded to text messages and Chaplick is prohibited from talking about Smith’s academic situation because of confidentiality rules.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz told reporters on June 18 that one player in Iowa’s 2014 recruiting class still hadn’t qualified academically. But Ferentz was prohibited from identifying the player.
Smith was among 19 recruits in Iowa’s 2014 class, all of whom were high school seniors when they signed national letters of intent in February.
“He’ll go to school, do what he needs to do academically, and if everything goes right, he’ll be a Hawkeye in January,” Chaplick said.
As a senior at St. John Vianney High School in St. Louis, Smith rushed for 2,416 yards and scored 33 touchdowns. The 5-foot-10, 210-pounder finished his high school career with 7,145 rushing yards, which ranks second all-time in the St. Louis area.
“We’ve had Freddie Russell and Shonn Greene, so we expect him to be in that category when he plays for us,” Chaplick said. “And we hope that he’ll continue the Milford Academy tradition when it gets to Iowa in that both those guys were (star players).”
Greene set an Iowa single-season rushing record with 1,850 yards in 2008. He also won the Doak Walker Award, which goes to the nation’s top college running back, that same season.
Russell led Iowa in rushing in 2002 and 2003 with 1,264 and 1,335 yards, respectively.
Chaplick, who is entering his 15th season as the Milford head coach, can see on tape why Smith’s running style has been compared to Greene’s style.
“On the tape, it looks like that,” said Chaplick, who has a 125-38 record as the Milford head coach. “But if you call me on Labor Day, I’ll tell you what kind of back he is because we’ll have three games under our belt by then.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football