Wave of bad news for football team


Julie Koehn/The Daily Iowan
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz rallies the troops at the 2009 Outback Bowl in January. This off-season has been a trying one for the Hawkeyes, but the team is looking forward to getting back on the field in the fall.

The hits keep on coming this off-season for the Iowa Hawkeyes, as three blows were dealt to the depth charts on Monday.

The first confirmed reports from over the weekend: Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz announced junior linebacker Jacody Coleman will leave the Hawkeyes. Coleman had 28 of his 52 career tackles last season for Iowa after playing in all 13 of the Hawkeyes’ contests.

“We appreciate Jacody’s efforts and contributions the past two years and wish him success in the years ahead,” Ferentz said in a release.

Coleman cited “family reasons” for his decision to transfer, which he made “a couple weeks ago.” He also confirmed reports coming out of his home state of Texas that he will play at Lamar University, located in his hometown of Beaumont.

Lamar, which initially dropped its football program in 1989, had the program reinstated at the Division-I level and will start playing games again in the fall of 2010.

Coleman also addressed previous rumors that began spreading after spring practice that he thought about leaving Iowa then, saying, “They were true at the time.”

In addition, he said he and the Iowa coaching staff had discussed redshirting him for the upcoming season before he decided to leave.

“It was a possibility that I would redshirt, just depending on how everything went,” Coleman said in a phone interview with the DI on Monday. “I would have looked more into it after camp.”

“[The coaches] were understanding about everything. They understood why I wanted to leave.”

In the same Monday release, Ferentz also confirmed the second hit: Junior offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde recently had surgery to take care of an injury sustained during summer workouts.

Details surrounding the injury’s extent and what type of operation was performed on the Davenport native were not mentioned in the release. Vandervelde, who was listed after spring practices as the Hawkeyes’ first-string right guard, started in Iowa’s last nine games at left guard a year ago.

He did not return calls seeking comment on Monday.

“We were hopeful that Julian’s injury could be healed through normal rehab, but it became apparent surgical repair was the best path to take,” Ferentz said. “Julian may miss some playing time, but we are optimistic he will return to full strength very early in the season. We’ll take it day by day.”

Last, there’s the third and possibly most ominous blow: Sophomore running back Jewel Hampton, who was listed as the first-string running back after spring practice in April, suffered a knee injury last week during non-contact drills.

The extent of the injury is still unknown. A source familiar with the situation said Hampton was having an MRI performed this week, but results from the MRI are not known. Serving as Shonn Greene’s back-up last year, the Indianapolis native had 463 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 91 carries. He also had 23 kickoff returns for the Hawkeyes on special teams.

On Hampton’s Facebook page, he requested people to stop asking him about his knee on Monday because he didn’t known the extent of his injury.

There has been speculation Hampton tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), which if the case, could potentially sideline him for the entire 2009 season.

If Hampton misses any playing time, the position will likely be filled by either redshirt freshman Jeff Brinson or junior Paki O’Meara.

Iowa’s first game is slated for Sept. 5 at Kinnick Stadium against Northern Iowa.

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