Coe a Hawkeye

After a month or so of struggles on and off of the field, Iowa basked in the glow of landing a huge commitment on Sunday. Edwardsville, Ill. running back Rodney Coe told the Hawkeye coaches that he would be joining the program next fall.

It's a busy time for the Iowa football coaches. They're preparing the team for the Insight Bowl and working on recruiting.

The staff was so wrapped up that it missed a very important phone call recently. A target high on the Iowa recruiting board phoned to commit. No one answered.

After a few days, word got back to Hawkeye recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson. He quickly called back.

"It was funny," Rodney Coe said. "I did an interview and the story came out (Sunday) afternoon. Coach Johnson called my home phone like a minute after the story went up and asked if it was true, did I want to be a Hawkeye. I told him yes."

Coe, a Class of 2011 running back, then talked with head coach Kirk Ferentz and position coach, Lester Erb.

"They told me I made their holiday and that they appreciated the early Christmas gift," Coe said. "They said they wished I could hop on the plane with them (Monday for the Insight Bowl) and go with them." ranks the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Coe as its 11th best running back nationally in the Class of 2011. The service lists him as a four-star recruit on a five-star scale.

"Iowa runs the football," the Edwardsville, Ill. native said. "That's exactly what I'm about. I want the rock in my hands."

Coe said that he picked the Hawkeyes ahead of Illinois and Kansas. He had planned to wait until close to signing day in early February to make his decision.

"That seemed like the time when I would be done with all of my official visits," he said. "After thinking about it, I didn't think Arkansas was right for me because they had a bunch of running backs and having a chance to play right away was important to me.

"I had a official set to Kansas but I had been there on an unofficial and didn't think I needed to see more so I canceled. My friends and my grandma had been asking me this week what I was thinking. I said I was thinking Iowa. It just was feeling right.

"I've really enjoyed the process and feel thankful for the attention, but it was stressful. The phone calls and the text messages and the emails, it was just stressful. I knew it was Iowa for me. There was no need to wait anymore."

Two Iowa running backs - Brandon Wegher and Jewel Hampton - left the Iowa program this week. Another, Adam Robinson, the team's leading rusher the last two seasons, was suspended for the bowl game and his future with the Hawkeyes is uncertain, although Ferentz expects him to rejoin the program in January.

Marcus Coker, Anthony Hitchens and DeAndre Johnson are the three scholarship running backs going to the Insight that will have eligibility for next season. Johnson is redshirting and Hitchens moved over from the defensive backfield during the season due to injuries. He has not carried the ball in college.

"It seem like there's a lot of open daylight there for me," Coe said. "I think I can come in and contribute."

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