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Today is Friday, Jan. 6 and this is your Iowa Wake-Up Call.
Akrum Wadley is returning for his senior season.
Was it the right decision? The only no-doubt part about it is the impact it has on the running back situation. The decision was going to be a gamble either way.
General consensus placed Wadley as a late-round pick. Being selected in the fifth round, seventh round or going undrafted were all distinct possibilities.
His speed, athleticism and explosiveness would attract scouts. His size would detract them. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound Wadley is likely a complementary back in the NFL, someone who can spell a starter for a few snaps, play on third downs and catch a few passes.
His value peaked during his breakout junior season, but could it go higher? He’d be the feature back next season. Instead of 168 carries he could likely see 200-plus handoffs.
Iowa returns the majority of its offensive line. Wadley could be in for a big season, which would certainly help his draft stock. An impressive senior season could help him jump up a few rounds in the draft and add few extra dollars to his paycheck.
But the possibility of an injury derailing his season needed to be considered. Wadley could take out an insurance policy, but even something minor that keeps him out a week or two and limits his play for another week or two — like what George Kittle experienced this season — may very well result in him not getting drafted. This is the life of a player without a prototypical NFL build for his position.
It was a lot to consider, but Wadley ultimately made the right move.
Running backs have short shelf lives and only so many hits on the field. An additional year as a pro may seem enticing, but as a late-round pick with a good situation at Iowa, it is worth Wadley gambling on himself to improve his draft stock for 2018.
Wadley has an NFL future, but it doesn’t need to be his present.
209 days until Akrum Wadley's weekly ankle-breaking seminars begin. pic.twitter.com/zrayvDED4D
— Hawkeye Images (@webcentrick) January 5, 2017
Here is the bottom line from Iowa’s 93-90 double overtime loss to Nebraska on Thursday.
The men’s basketball team needed that win.
Get past everything else — the calls that were or weren’t made, who was and wasn’t on the floor at the end, the shots that were or weren’t taken late — and this was a game for the taking.
Iowa is a young team that needs to learn how to win a road game in conference play. The chance was there, but it didn’t happen. This was a heartbreaking loss, one likely to stick with the Hawkeyes for a while.
Let the A.J. Epenesa hype begin
Iowa defensive end commit A.J. Epenesa is putting together an outstanding week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. He’s playing so well, in fact, that Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports is predicting he’ll start as a freshman.
Epenesa, a 5-star prospect, will put his skills on display during the bowl game on Saturday (1 p.m., ET, NBC). It will be the first chance for most Iowa fans to watch Epenesa, an all-around defensive end capable of rushing the passer and stopping the run.
Iowa offensive tackle commit Tristan Wirfs, known for his size and athleticism, will also play in the game. Keep an eye out.
Luka Garza update
The Iowa men’s basketball signee didn’t have too shabby of a game on Tuesday.
— Dylan Burn (@DBurnScout) January 5, 2017
The forward nearly pulled a Russell Westbrook, or what a triple-double should now be called considering the Oklahoma City guard seems to produce one each game.