The news hit Rodney Coe hard. The Army All-American dreamed of playing major college football following an impressive high school career. In August, that wish was put on hold.
The bruising running back from Edwardsville. IL, failed to qualify academically. Instead of joining Iowa, he was off to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs.
"It was really tough," Coe said. "I was all set to go to Iowa and then I found out I couldn't. It was hard to handle."
Iowa fans also felt the disappointment. Coe excited them as one of the top-ranked prep players in the country.
Coe played with 260 pounds on his 6-foot-3 frame this fall. He carried the ball 76 times for 470 yards and nine touchdowns. Western finished at 9-2.
"I don't think I played as well as I could have," Coe said. "My head wasn't in it at first. When I found out I couldn't go to Iowa and had to go the JUCO route, I was just like, forget it.
"So, I could have been better, but it turned out pretty well."
By not qualifying academically out of high school, Coe must achieve his associate's degree at junior college to move on to Division I.
"I took classes in the summer and will do that again this summer," he said. "My hope is to get to Iowa at the (2012-13) semester break. If not, I'll get there that summer."
Coe said Iowa has been sending him letters and talking with the Western coaches. The Hawkeye staff couldn't speak to him in person this season because he's now a '13 recruit.
"When I couldn't get in (to Iowa), they connected me with Western and Coach (Corey) Brown," Coe said. "The plan all along has been for me to go to Iowa. That's where I'm headed."
Brown played defensive tackle at Iowa.
"To be honest, I really like it here," Coe said of Western. "It's a lot better than I thought it would be after I couldn't go to Iowa. There are some good dudes here."
In addition to focusing on academics, Coe plans to shed 15-20 pounds this off-season.
"Honestly, I don't feel any different at 260," he said. "I still can make the same moves and have the same speed. I don't feel any slower or unable to do the things I can do.
"I just want to get back to my high school weight. I didn't train right last summer when I found out I wasn't going to Iowa. I was disappointed."
Coe said he pulled As and Bs in last summer's classes at Western and his fall grades have been similar to that.
"I have a few Cs, but I have time to work on those before the end of the semester," he said. "My grades are good."