Ferentz talks Hawkeye transfers, injuries at Big Ten media day
Originally published on 7/28/2014
Chicago — One fewer quarterback will be on scholarship when the Iowa football team reports to practice next Monday.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Nic Shimonek is among three Iowa players who have asked for permission to transfer to a different school, Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz confirmed on Monday at the annual Big Ten football Media Day event.
The others are sophomore linebacker Laron Taylor senior kicker Alden Haffar.
"They've all indicated some interest in looking at some other places," Ferentz said.
Ferentz also confirmed that senior receiver Damond Powell will miss preseason practice and possibly a few games after having hernia surgery about two weeks ago. Powell had 12 receptions for 291 yards and two touchdowns last season. Then former junior-college star averaged 24.2 yards per catch.
"I would imagine he would be out throughout camp and some of the early season probably," Ferentz said. "I don't know how fast he'll be able to throttle up.
"Worse-case scenario you never know, it'll probably be Big Ten play, but I'm hoping before then."
Ferentz compared Shimonek's situation to that of another reserve quarterback, Cody Sokol, who transferred from Iowa to Louisiana Tech after appearing in just one game last season as the backup to starter Jake Rudock and No. 2 quarterback C.J. Beathard. Neither Sokol nor Shimonek left on bad terms, according to Ferentz.
"It's a little bit like Cody a year ago, I don't think it was a selfish thing at all," Ferentz said. "Nic has just been tremendous. He's a good quarterback and I think a very good prospect. I think it's as simple as he looked up and saw two players ahead of him that have been on the field.
"I think he has great respect for those guys, not that it's a case of him being afraid of competition. But I think he's probably being realistic and saying I'm going to try and find a faster path to the field."
Shimonek, who is from Corsicana, Texas, told Hawkeye Insider.com that he planned to transfer to Texas Tech, but will not be on scholarship. He also spoke highly of his experience at Iowa.
"I'll miss everything about Iowa, but with that said, I have to be selfish and do what's best for me," Shimonek said.
Iowa will only have three quarterbacks on scholarship this coming season. However, the plan, according to Ferentz, still is to redshirt incoming freshman Tyler Wiegers.
It's become common in college football for quarterbacks to transfer in search of more playing time. Ferentz has had his share of quarterbacks leave during his 15 seasons as the Iowa coach, a list that includes Jake Christensen, Matt Bohnet and A.J. Derby, although, Derby had switched to linebacker when he left the team in January 2012.
"I think college basketball is probably at an all-time high for transfers right now and there's probably some parallels there," Ferentz said. "There are only so many opportunities for quarterbacks."
Taylor, a native of Detroit, did not appear in any games as a redshirt freshman last season after being redshirted in 2012.
Haffar also did not appear in any games last season after attending Iowa Central Community College as a freshman and sophomore. The West Des Moines Valley graduate was listed as the co-first team kicker with Marshall Koehn after spring practice. Haffar also was listed as a co-starter with Koehn in the 2014 Iowa football media guide.
Ferentz was optimistic about his team's academic situation, although he's still waiting for official confirmation on all his players.
Ferentz also addressed the Markel Smith situation. Smith, who rushed for over 7,000 yards in high school, signed a letter of intent with Iowa in February. However, the St. Louis native now plans to attend Milford Academy – a prep school in New Berlin, N.Y. – to work on his academics for at least the fall semester.
Former Hawkeye running backs Shonn Greene and Fred Russell also attended Milford Academy before enrolling at Iowa.
"We knew there was a chance that wouldn't work out," Ferentz said. "We knew that, but that was a decision we made in the recruiting process to follow through."