Jeff Brinson came to Iowa City with an interesting story, tons of potential and high character. Because of injuries, his game never got unpacked from Florida.
The University of Iowa announced Thursday that the 5-foot-11, 225-pounder will transfer closer to his St. Petersburg, Fla., home.
When he arrived as a freshman in ’08, the change from the humidity of his hometown Tampa/St. Petersburg area triggered his asthma. Last season, a foot injury that eventually forced surgery held him to just one carry.
Make no mistake, Brinson, a 5-11, 225-pounder, was in the mix last spring. Shonne Greene left early for the NFL. Jewel Hampton was the heir apparent after a season as Greene’s understudy, but the position was still up for grabs. Brinson impressed. During live drills, an Iowa coach told me, Brinson came alive and opened eyes.
The foot flared during fall camp. He was on crutches and then, late in the season, surgery.
By every measure, Brinson is the kind of kid you want in your college football program.
Last summer, I talked to Brinson’s prep coach, Northeast High School’s Jay Austin. Here’s that story.
At media day, I talked to Brinson himself. Here’s video from that interview.
So, where does this leave Iowa’s backfield. Well, still stocked with smallish backs whose careers are in their dawns and some freshmen.
Here are Iowa’s seven scholarship running backs:
Adam Robinson (so.) – ARob did have shoulder surgery and I assume he’ll miss spring practice. Remember, he suffered the injury during bowl prep. Might be one more surgery.
Brandon Wegher (so.) — Best game as a Hawkeye was the Orange Bowl (113 yards, clinching TD). Probably his show this spring, but don’t expect to see much of any Iowa running back truly in the plans to be tackled much if at all.
Jewel Hampton (so.) — Was “the guy” until he suffered a torn ACL last June. Probably won’t participate this spring, but he’ll likely be the hungriest back on the roster.
Paki O’Meara (sr.) — Probably an emergency back at this point. His one shot at the ring, last fall against UNI, ended with a fumble. Solid special teamer.
Brad Rogers (fr.) — A 5-9, 220-pounder who nearly had the redshirt taken off last year against Michigan State. I know what you’re going to say, but I don’t think he’s a fullback.
Marcus Coker (fr.) — Now, officially Iowa’s only big back at 6-0, 230. I still think redshirt, but he moved a step closer to PT today.
De’Andre Johnson (fr.) — A sleeper, I think. Like what he brings in power. Probably facing a redshirt coming off an ACL surgery.
Quick slants — Head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Thursday that assistant coach Eric Johnson will add tight ends to his responsibilities.
Johnson, beginning his 12th year at Iowa, has been Iowa’s recruiting coordinator the last eight years and will continue to hold that position. He previously coached the tight ends for five years (2003-07) before being assigned to recruiting exclusively.
Erik Campbell, who’ll begin his third year at Iowa, will continue to coach Iowa’s wide receivers.