FULLBACK BRAD ROGERS
Arrival: Rogers' college recruitment was stunted by a bad run of injuries. During his junior and seniors seasons at Toledo (Ohio) Central Catholic, Rogers suffered ankle injuries that limited him on the field. The 5-10, 230-pounder finished his career with 1,228 yards and 18 TDs and Iowa was his lone college offer (he committed in April of his junior year, so that also slowed offers).
As a senior he also split time with Mike Marrow, then an Alabama recruit at fullback and linebacker and now a transfer to Nebraska [EDIT: Correction thanks to e-mailer Greg]. Rogers was OK with that. He could've put his head down, but he competed.
“I thought about the team,” Rogers told the Toledo Free Press at the time. “It couldn’t do anything but help us and it couldn’t do anything but help me because it’ll make me a better player with the competition.”
That type of response earned him a captainship his senior year. [He's also on Iowa's leadership committee and has been praised for that aspect by head coach Kirk Ferentz.]
Rogers came to Iowa with the idea that he'd be a running back, not a fullback. Most definitely not a fullback.
“Ohio State told me they wanted me for fullback. I really don’t want to play fullback,” Rogers said.
Fast forward . . .
Takeoff 2012: Of course, Rogers is the fullback. He basically went head-to-head with Marcus Coker in 2010 for No. 2 running back behind Adam Robinson and lost out. This was OK. Rogers moved to fullback and was the starter when the Hawkeyes won at Michigan in 2010.
He was poised to take over the position last season, but a heart condition kept him off the field and out of any conditioning work from December 2010 until into the 2011 season. He sat out the first four games last year before jumping in and taking over the position. There was rust. He couldn't do anything for months.
"Last year I wasn't in shape for the season because I sat out so long," Rogers said. "I think this year, I should be ready to go and in shape. I've got my strength back and my speed."
The big question for the Iowa fullback is what is the future of Iowa fullback?
Iowa will have a different offense under first-year coordinator Greg Davis. What likely won't change, however, is Kirk Ferentz's approach to the running game, which will most definitely include a fullback.
"The fullback is still in the offense," Rogers said. "I had a meeting with my position coach [Lester Erb]. He warned me that when coach Davis came in, things might change, but he also let me know the fullback wasn't going away.
"That kept a smile on my face."
Bonus: There might be more passing routes for the fullbacks this season.