Top cornerback backup Maurice Fleming to transfer from Iowa

Chad Leistikow

The Iowa football team's already-thin secondary got a little thinner this week, with Maurice Fleming announcing his intentions to transfer.

Fleming, who was listed as the No. 1 left cornerback on the spring depth chart with starter Greg Mabin sidelined, plans to complete his career as a graduate transfer. Iowa approved the transfer without restrictions, according to a university release.

“Maurice has shared his desire to spend his fifth and final season as a graduate transfer at another institution,” coach Kirk Ferentz said in a statement. “Reese has been a valuable contributor throughout his career at Iowa, and we wish him the best in his final season this fall.”

Iowa's Maurice Fleming high-fives Nate Meier as they force a fourth down during their game against Maryland at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2015.

Prior to the 2014 season, Fleming lost a three-way battle with Greg Mabin and Sean Draper for the starting cornerback job opposite Desmond King. The Chicago native has been mostly on the bench (and on special teams) since. He had been elevated to first string with Mabin out for the spring with an injury. But sophomore defensive back Josh Jackson is rising up the ranks, even though he, too, is injured this spring and practicing in a red no-contact jersey.

With Fleming gone, the top four corners are King, Mabin, Jackson and freshman Michael Ojemudia (who impressed coaches in the fall, but redshirted).

It's possible that Fleming's departure could help free up a scholarship this summer for walk-on starting free safety Brandon Snyder.

Fleming (6-foot, 205 pounds) played in all 14 games in 2015. He started in Iowa's 28-20 win at Nebraska when King was suspended for the first quarter for being late to a team meeting.

“I feel blessed for my time at Iowa and want to thank coach Kirk Ferentz and coach Phil Parker for their help in making me a better football player and keeping me humble,” Fleming said in a statement. “At this time I am going to explore my options to make the best of my senior year.”