DJK, Wegher and Hampton: What Have The Iowa Hawkeyes Really Lost?
How can you describe in words how the last month has been for fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes football program?
The first feelings that come to mind are shock and bewilderment.
That is only describing the shocking and bewildering three game losing streak that ended an underwhelming season that had national championship dreams at its inception.
Now, how would Hawkeye fans describe the last week?
Embarrassment and disappointment are two words that properly describe what many have felt in that period of time.
In one week alone, the team's greatest wide receiver in the record books has been cast off the team after being arrested on alleged drug charges.
Former freshmen standout Jewel Hampton decided to transfer after two seasons that were ended before they really began because of torn ACL's.
And Orange Bowl hero Brandon Wegher finally answered the question as to if he was going to wear a black and gold jersey ever again, and that, of course, was no.
Obviously, this is alot to take in for Hawk fans in such a short gap in time. Added to it were numerous rumors, too many to mention that were finally squashed in a much needed press conference by AD Gary Barta and coach Kirk Ferentz.
Which loss hurts the Hawkeyes the most?
Tensions and blood pressures are slowly lowering and people will try to forget about what's wrong with the program and hope that one of the greatest senior classes in school history can go out with a third bowl game victory in their careers.
But, for future years what are the Hawkeyes losing?
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos had a sensational career at Iowa that will not soon or possibly ever be duplicated.
Many pinpoint his coming out party as the moment he made a remarkable one-handed catch against Wisconsin in 2007. Since then, he was electric in the kick return game and has made big catch after big catch.
He will be sorely missed during the bowl game against Mizzou, and players like Colin Sandeman and Keenan Davis will have the chance of a lifetime to fill No. 15's shoes.
In terms of the long-term implications, DJK most likely costed himself the opportunity of being a NFL draft pick this coming year, and will have to work ten times harder to make an NFL team.
Without the support of the Hawkeyes and the backing of coach Ferentz, DJK will have to impress at any chance he is given.
There is no doubt he has the talent to at least be given a shot, but his character and obviously his judgement are going to be severely scrutinized.
I hope that he gets everything figured out, he made so many happy and was extremely beloved, it would be quite a shame if he is not welcomed back someday on a Saturday in Kinnick.
Also in Hawkeye news, Jewel Hampton decided it was best to transfer to another school. Ferentz said it was mutual. It will be hard to see him go, as for many as it makes us say, "What if?"
After dazzling runs against Indiana his freshmen year behind Shonn Greene, many thought he was going to be a contender by this time to break Tavian Banks' rushing record at Iowa.
But he was plagued by bad knees; that dream was never realized and he will try again hopefully next season somewhere else.
Brandon Wegher like Hampton, had a big game his freshmen season last year against the Indiana Hoosiers, but what many will remember more is the long rushing touchdown in the Orange Bowl against Georgia Tech.
No story was more mysterious in the early part of the college football season that the abrupt and vanishing disapperance of Wegher before the season started.
But, Wegher chose to announce officially his desire to transfer during one of the more difficult weeks that the program has seen in some time.
It almost seems as if no one wanted to take the reigns and be "the man" after Shonn Greene left for the NFL. Hampton, Wegher and Adam Robinson all had their chance at different times.
But, whether it was injuries, personal matters or grades, it never seemed to work out.
Perhaps in all of this, it will be the afterthought with Marcus Coker, who will emerge to become what many hoped the three before him could be.
Because no one, absolutely no one predicted Shonn Greene, the afterthought, would do what he did.
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