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Iowa running back Ivory Kelly-Martin has the skills and quickness to catch passes out of the backfield.

Iowa’s top receiving threats at running back

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What does Iowa have for a pass-catching back like Akrum Wadley? — Bud Thurm

ANSWER: Replacing running back Akrum Wadley won’t be easy in the running or passing game. His skills were rare in both forums. Last year he caught 28 passes for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns. In 2016, Wadley had 36 catches for 315 yards and 3 scores. It’s difficult to replace that kind of annual production without changing Iowa’s offensive scheme.

The Hawkeyes have two primary running backs returning this season and both are completely different backs. Sophomore Toren Young is physical at 5-foot-11 and 221 pounds. He’s a one-cut runner who caught just 1 pass for 23 yards last fall. His style of play is reminiscent of Marcus Coker, who rushed for 1,384 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2011 and caught 21 passes for 157 yards. Young is built more for the zone running scheme and probably less for the passing game.

Sophomore Ivory Kelly-Martin (5-10, 200) is smaller but has better quickness than Young. Does that translate to good receiving skills? Probably. Last year in his first fall on campus, Kelly-Martin caught 4 passes for 25 yards and 1 score. He also rushed for 184 yards and 3 scores. Kelly-Martin sometimes lined up in the slot and he also returned kickoffs. His skill set is similar to Wadley, but it’s too early to compare the two based on Wadley’s career production.

Other players could fit that role, too. Former receiver/defensive back Cam Harrell (5-10, 195) is working at running back this spring. Incoming players Tyrone Tracy (6-0, 187) and Samson Evans (6-1, 205) are hybrid players who can play running back or receiver. Tracy in particular could line up at multiple positions next fall.

Read more Question of the Day answers about the Iowa Hawkeyes here.