Akrum Wadley has plenty to say after his big debut
Iowa freshman Akrum Wadley is Big Man on Campus today. Eventually, he wants to be bigger.
Wadley shot up to No. 2 on Iowa's depth chart at running back Monday, about an hour after he was named the Big Ten Conference's freshman of the week.
The native on Newark, N.J., arrived in strength and conditioning coach Chris Doyle's laboratory at 167 pounds. He's up to 180 now.
"I gained a couple pounds," Wadley grinned Saturday after he racked up 106 yards on 15 carries in his Hawkeye debut, a 48-7 home rout of Northwestern. "I gotta still gain more."
Wadley became a sudden star, in a backup role of Mark Weisman against the Wildcats.
He hadn't been on the two-deep, ever, and he was probably Kirk Ferentz's No. 6 option most of the fall.
There was no "or" on Monday's two-deep at running back, a contrast to the four-guys-in-two-spots listing in previous weeks. Just Weisman and Wadley.
That means Jordan Canzeri (ankle injury) probably isn't being counted on for Saturday's 11 a.m. game at Minnesota, though Ferentz said he would know more Tuesday.
LeShun Daniels is out for the regular season with a foot injury, and Damon Bullock is the third-down back (he only got two carries vs. Northwestern). And Jonathan Parker, who has 94 yards on 10 carries (mostly on jet sweeps after lining up as a slot receiver), got hurt against Northwestern.
"I guess it's the right time," Wadley said Saturday. "It's always a process when you've got four good backs in front of me."
Wadley laughed about his very first carry – a stretch running play to the short side of the field.
He made the turn up field … but stepped out of bounds as he made the cut. Whoops.
"I thought I had five, six yards," he said. "But it was actually one yard."
No worries. His next carry went for 23. And the Kinnick Stadium faithful were soon relishing a back with a burst at the point of attack – with spin moves, to boot.
"Spin move, that's probably one of my favorite moves," the Newark, N.J., native said. "Been learning it and doing it since high school."
He did lose a fumble Saturday, but the coaches stuck with him. And he became the Hawkeyes' first 100-yard rusher in 11 games.
"When I fumbled, I'm like, 'Aw, man. It's over,' " Wadley said. "(Running backs) coach (Chris) White, he told me to shake it off, it happens to the best of us. I just got mad and had to make up for that fumble."
Other depth-chart wrinkles revealed Monday:
--Not a surprise, but fifth-year senior and Dowling Catholic alum Tommy Gaul is listed as the starting center, with Austin Blythe shifting to left guard. That's how they lined up Saturday. Gaul hadn't been No. 1 on paper until Monday. Sean Welsh, the previous starter at left guard, is backing up Jordan Walsh at right guard, and Boone Myers is now the backup left guard. (Got it?)
--Decorah native Josey Jewell is listed as the starter at weakside linebacker, in place of the suspended Reggie Spearman. Travis Perry started at linebacker Saturday. The Minnesota game will end Spearman's two-game suspension for his recent OWI.
--The great punting controversy continues. It's still Dillon Kidd "or" Connor Kornbrath. Kidd fumbled a punt snap Saturday, then was replaced by Kornbrath, who averaged 37 yards on two punts.
Also Monday, Iowa defensive tackle Louis Trinca-Pasat was named co-Big Ten defensive player of the week after recording three sacks against Northwestern. He shared the honor with Michigan's Jake Ryan, who forced two fumbles against Indiana.