IOWA CITY, Ia. — Iowa football coach Kirk Ferentz revealed two departures from his team Tuesday, 11 days before its season opener.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Emmanuel Ogwo has decided to concentrate on track. Redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Wilson was released from the team for a series of issues, most recently an arrest for OWI in Iowa City over the weekend.
Ferentz said Ogwo, a native of Mesquite, Texas, informed the coaching staff last week of his desire to run track instead of continuing to play football. Ogwo was an accomplished sprinter in high school.
“I think he just feels like he wants to gravitate in that direction,” Ferentz said.
Ogwo caught the lone touchdown pass during the Hawkeyes’ recent Kids Day scrimmage, but was in a battle with a dozen other receivers for playing time.
Wilson, 19, a Granger native and West Des Moines Dowling Catholic graduate, was not among the 105 players participating in Iowa’s summer camp. In addition to the OWI charge early Saturday morning, he was charged with driving with a suspended license. Wilson’s driving record includes six previous infractions over the past three years, four for speeding, one for improper use of lanes, and one for driving with an expired license.
“I think he’s reassessing his future right now and just putting some thoughts to that,” said Ferentz, who made the decision to part ways with Wilson and noted it was “not one single event, but just a cumulative thing.”
The departures free up two potential scholarship spots for Iowa, either for current walk-ons or in the class of 2017. They also open the possibility of playing time for some true freshmen. Ferentz said he expects six-to-10 first-year players to get on the field this fall, with linebacker Amani Jones and wide receiver Devonte Young likely among them.
Asked if the Ogwo decision caught him by surprise, Ferentz said:
“Yes and no. I told wife one day when I went home after something happened at the University of Maine, my first head-coaching job, I told her, ‘If I ever tell you I’m surprised by anything, just hit me with a bat.’ You just never know.”