Why Akrum Wadley being limited in spring practice is a good thing, Nick Easley’s impressive winter and more
The best way to start your day is right here at Landof10.com as we prepare you for everything you need to know about Iowa sports. We’ll share our Iowa Breakfast Club here with you at 8:30 a.m. (ET) Monday through Friday.
So let’s get to it. Here is the Iowa Breakfast Club for Tuesday, March 21.
Good news, better news for Iowa spring practice
Good news. Iowa RB Akrum Wadley is finally north of 190 pounds. In fact, this might be coach Kirk Ferentz’s favorite news of spring football.
“One thing I can report to you positively, he’s over 190,” Ferentz said. “He’s actually starting to get a little bit bigger and more robust.”
Better news. Iowa isn’t letting Wadley take part in contact drills during spring practice.
Why is this important? The Hawkeyes are putting Wadley’s health first. The key is having the star running back ready for the season.
Also, Wadley plays one of the most grueling positions in the sport. There is a reason the average career of an NFL running back is less than 4 years. Running backs take a lot of physical punishment during a game.
The Hawkeyes know what they have in Wadley. He’s a special player. His athleticism, speed and elusiveness allow him to turn a potential 2-yard play into a 20-yard gain.
The cold, hard truth is there is more potential harm than good that could come out of putting Wadley through scrimmages or first-team offense vs. first-team defense drills in March and April. He is in a similar position to Matt VandeBerg and his reinjured foot.
Both are established players. The coaches know what they have in them. They’ve proven their worth.
Wadley will be fine without getting a bunch of touches right now. His weight is probably the most important part of his spring. If he can maintain his weight, or even pack on a few more pounds, it will likely help with his durability and let Iowa hand him the rock even more in November.
Trading off some spring carries for fall ones is a tradeoff well worth making.
The winter workout warrior
The biggest surprise on the spring practice depth chart is wide receiver Nick Easley, who will start the first workout on Wednesday with the second-team offense. The junior-college transfer impressed the Hawkeyes during winter workouts.
“The work that our guys do typically translates out there to the field,” Ferentz said. “It starts with if a guy is doing well in that program, just his confidence, how he feels about himself. That’s a big part of playing good football.”
Easley hauled in 72 receptions for 954 yards and 7 touchdowns while earning JC All-American honors at Iowa Western Community College last season.
The coaching staff wants to see what he can do. A strong spring would go a long way to helping him earn playing time in 2017.
Last man on campus
The final member of the 2016 class arrived at Iowa for the spring semester. Former Pella (Iowa) High School standout Noah Clayberg joined the program as a grayshirt. Instead of joining a team for the start of the season in the fall, a grayshirt waits until after the season ends to join, when a scholarship is freed up for that semester. The move also delays the athlete’s NCAA eligibility window of five years to play four seasons.
Clayberg played quarterback, linebacker and punter, while also serving as a returner, as he led Pella to consecutive state titles in 2014 and 2015. The 5-foot-11, 209-pound Clayberg could play all over the field. In fact, he’s listed as a defensive back on the team roster, but Ferentz said he’ll be a running back to start the spring.
Mr. Basketball times two
Two future Iowa men’s basketball players took home Gatorade Mr. Basketball awards. Class of 2017 forward Luka Garza won the honor for Washington, D.C.
— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) March 20, 2017
He averaged 24.6 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks this past season for Maret School.
Class of 2018 guard Joe Wieskamp took home the award in Iowa.
— Hudl (@Hudl) March 20, 2017
Wieskamp averaged 30.4 points and 10.2 rebounds Muscatine High School.
The Iowa women’s gymnastics team is headed to the NCAA Tournament. The Hawkeyes are the third seed in the Champaign Regional and will compete at the University of Illinois on April 1.
Here is how Iowa found out it was heading to the postseason on Monday.
GymHawks Selected to Champaign Regional https://t.co/a3CTMAhQWe
— The Iowa Hawkeyes (@TheIowaHawkeyes) March 20, 2017
The top two teams from the regional will advance to the national championships in St. Louis on April 14-15.
Lots of links
- Why VandeBerg missing spring practice shouldn’t be a big deal.
- How the honesty of Iowa assistant football coach Seth Wallace helped the Hawkeyes land punter Ryan Gersonde.
- Iowa City West LB Dillon Doyle is the third member of Iowa’s 2018 recruiting class.
- A look back on Peter Jok’s Iowa basketball career.