RUNNING BACK BARKLEY HILL
Arrival: The 6-foot, 210-pounder from Cedar Falls arrive a few weeks ago. He’s tuned in, hungry and focused. The process of welcoming freshman onto campus for the first time includes informing players that their Twitter accounts will go radio silent. That shouldn’t be a problem for Hill, who hasn’t tweeted since June 2.
Hill isn’t a media hound. That’s an untold toll on college football prospects. They receive upwards to half a dozen calls a night until they commit to a school. Even then it only slows. Hill was always elusive. He didn’t do many if any interviews when he committed to Iowa State last April. Seeing a better fit, he switched to Iowa just a few weeks before signing day in February.
His signing day news conference focused on that fit, leaving that as the sole reason. Flanked by his parents Kathy and Johnny, Hill spoke like a young person with an agenda on performance stage in Cedar Falls.
“Iowa fits my running style,” said Hill, who is named after NBA legend Charles Barkley. “They have a need for people at my position and that’s a fit. It was tough, but it was the best thing for me.”
Iowa coaches have told Hill, who rushed for 6,127 yards and 89 touchdowns in his career at Cedar Falls, that playing time is there for him in 2012 if he goes out and earns it.
“I like running between the tackles more than anything,” Hill said.
The way running back has gone for the Hawkeyes, coaches have to like Hill’s singular focus. He wants to play running back at Iowa and he has the tools to do it and do it now.
Takeoff 2012: You know the situation. No Marcus Coker. Jordan Canzeri is rehabbing an ACL (reports say it’s rocket pace, but still a likely redshirt season). Greg Garmon should be in Iowa City by now, but the incoming freshman faces a mental test in overcoming the aftereffects of a June 7 [EDIT, thanks to Mike M] arrest for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia in his hometown of Erie, Pa.
Sophomore Damon Bullock showed some burst in the spring game with 121 yards and an 84-yard TD. Sophomore De’Andre Johnson was passed on the depth chart a few times last season, but did have 116 yards and a 58-yard TD in the scrimmage.
And now, there’s Hill.
Here are some scouting takes:
From ESPN.com: “Has a solid build on a sturdy frame but is narrow through his hips and lower-body. Not a homerun threat but he has deceptive straight-line speed and outside burst for a downhill runner. This is a North-South back who shows adequate vision and patience finding the downhill seam and more than adequate burst when he hits it. Gets North with good determination and solid pad level, particularly through traffic. Shows above average redirection and lateral cutting skills to avoid the first defender through the hole. He can see and hit the cutback.”
From Josh Helmholdt, Rivals.com Midwest recruiting analyst: “I think Hill is that prototypical back Iowa always has there. He’s going to be able pound it out between the tackles and he brings nice speed to the edge.”
The one constant at Iowa running back the last three or four seasons has been opportunity. The Hawkeyes once again lead the Big Ten in that.
We might know something after the August scrimmage.