Garmon, Hill Preparing to Play

Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill are expected to arrive in Iowa City next month with opportunity in front of them. The incoming freshmen running backs discuss their chances in this feature story.

The revolving door that is Iowa's running back position in recent years expects to have two more talented athletes walk through it early next month. Incoming freshmen Greg Garmon and Barkley Hill seek to make the most of a golden opportunity.

Last season's leading rusher, Marcus Coker, transferred out of Iowa in January as did Mika'il McCall, who started 2011 as the team's No. 2 back. Jordan Canzeri, who entered spring ball as the team's No. 1 on the depth chart, tore his ACL. Adam Robinson, Jewel Hampton and Brandon Wegher would have eligibility this season had they not left the program in recent years.

"I'm going in to try to help the team," said Hill, who prepped at Cedar Falls (Iowa) High. "If I'm the guy, then I'm the guy. If i'm not. then I'm not. I'm going to work my hardest to try to be the guy. That's the way I see it."

Hill said he plans to arrive in Iowa City on June 2 or 3. Garmon said he will move to Iowa from his Pennsylvania home on June 11.

"(The Iowa coaches) just told me to come in to compete for the position and the best man will win," Garmon said. "They told me that most of the running backs are going to have some type of role. They just told me to be prepared to play."

Sophomores Damon Bullock and De'Andre Johnson handled the running back duties this spring. They've combined to carry the ball 28 times in their collegiate careers.

Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said he was pleased with the play and growth of his veteran backs in the spring. He also said Hill and Garmon likely were going to factor into the running back rotation.

"I think we have to have the approach that both those guys, if they can help us, will, just because of our numbers right now," Ferentz said.

Hill verbally committed to Iowa State last spring. He signed with Iowa after seeing the attrition at his position.

"That was a big factor," Hill said. "The opportunity at Iowa was greater after the situation that happened down there."

Hill rushed for 2,493 yards and 40 touchdowns as a senior. His 89 career TDs on the ground are an Iowa high school record.

"I'm a between-the-tackles runner," Hill said.

Garmon posted 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns in his final season at McDowell High in Erie, PA. He participated in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in January. He verbally committed to Iowa at the event.

"There's a good opportunity for me to come in and start," the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Garmon said. "I'm going to compete for the position. Here's a chance for me to step up."

Garmon and Hill said they'll be academically eligible as true freshmen.

"I'm good to go," Garmon said. "I'm set. I took care of all of that my junior year. I took my ACT my junior year just one time. I'm good. I got an 18."

Both players still have to get through the NCAA Clearinghouse. That status might not be known until August, but they will train this summer fully expecting to be cleared.

"The biggest thing will be getting down the system that they run," Hill said. "I need to get into the playbook. It will be a big transition from high school to college in terms of the blocking schemes; the check-downs for the tailback. It's more complex.

"Other than that, you need to be in shape and make sure you have the mental part of the game down."

Garmon is preparing to be in the best condition he can be when he lands in Iowa City.

"I'm doing a lot of speed training still," he said. "I'm getting my body prepared for working with (Iowa Strength and Conditioning) Coach (Chris) Doyle."

While Hill likes to jam it between the tackles, Garmon is dangerous on the edge. They're both strong in catching the ball out of the backfield.

"I think we complement each other," Hill said "But even though people don't see him as a between-the-tackle runner, his frame is big. I think we're both pretty complete.

"If we're in the game, I don't think either of us is a situational back. I don't think on third-and-one they're going to put the big back in because we both can do that."

With much common, Hill and Garmon have begun a friendship.

"We Facebook chat," Hill said. "We just wanted to see where each other was at in terms of when we're moving in. We're going to be in the same townhouse this summer."

They'll be seeing a lot of each other this summer. Chances are good that Hawkeye fans will being seeing a lot of them in the fall.

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