Derrick Willies remains a former member of the Iowa football team. It's uncertain whether or not that status will change after the freshman receiver indicated on Tuesday that he'd like to rejoin the Hawkeyes.
Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz said on the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday that he had not heard of Willies' desire. The Rock Island (Ill.) High product left the team in late October. The university said it was to be with his ailing father in Phoenix while teammate C.J. Beathard indicated that there was more to the story.
"That's news to me," Ferentz said on the teleconference about Willies wanting to return. "I must have missed it. We've actually been trying to get ready for this game (Saturday against Wisconsin)."
Ferentz added on the teleconference that the team had moved on from Willies' exit and that he thought the player did, too. A short while later, the coach was asked in his press conference with the Iowa media if Willies would be allowed back on the team.
"I got asked that earlier, and you've got to excuse me, I was working all day today. I haven't had a chance to get on the message boards and stuff. I'm really worried about getting our team, the guys on the team right now ready for this ballgame. That's where my thoughts are right now. We have another game coming up right afterwards. That's where my focus is," Ferentz said.
You can watch the coach answer the question here:
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Willies was discussed a lot by Iowa fans this past off-season after he enjoyed a breakout performance in the spring game. He and the coaches kept that in perspective on media day.
Willies caught four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown this fall. He missed the Indiana game on Oct. 11 with what Ferentz described as a muscle strain. He dressed and warmed up but did not play Oct. 18 at Maryland and then he was gone.
Tuesday, he told Hawkeye Insider in a text that he hoped to get back on the team:
"I'm a Hawkeye. I thought I was putting my family first only after time did I realize I'm leaving my family here - My team. It's a lot to deal with all at once when the man you look up to your whole life tells you he only has a little time left. My father is going to move here and I am going to try and get my place back on the team. That's all I have to say on everything."
It seems pretty clear from Ferentz's comments that Willies will not playing for the Hawkeyes this season. What the future holds is anybody's guess.