Countdown to Kickoff: Albert Young

How important is a healthy Albert Young to the Iowa football team? How much will a healthy Albert Young mean to first year starter Jake Christensen? What might we expect out of the player called 'AY' in 2007? HN.com continues its preseason player previews with a look at Albert Young.

CAREER REPORT CARD TO DATE:  B

-His career started off shaky on the injury front.  If you recall, ‘AY' as the kids like to call him, was slated to play as a true freshman and return kicks back in 2003.  He broke a bone in his leg in August camp and missed his first year, which wound up being a redshirt year.  

 

In 2004, he poised to play a prominent role until he blew out an ACL against Iowa State, the year where it just wasn't safe to be an Iowa running back.  He came on strong in 2005, as he led the Big Ten in rushing yards and was a first team all conference selection..  He was the first Iowa running back to lead all league rushers in league games since the late 1970's.  AY's performance tailed off last year, as he was not entirely healthy and teams stacked the box against a gimpy Drew Tate.  He remains a dual threat out of the backfield, as he can also be a dangerous pass catcher.  He is also capable of returning to his 2004 form, where he wasn't 100% in that season, either.  

 

If there is one player on the entire team that could have a big time breakout year, it might be AY…but for him, it would be a trip back to the future. 

 

When he is healthy, and when the line is clicking, he is one of the best running backs in the conference.  Though he will split reps with Damien Sims, it's not entirely out of the question to see a 1985 Ronnie Harmon-like performance out of AY; he has the skills.

 

2007 OFF SEASON PERFORMANCE: 

-Reports out of winter workouts and spring football were that AY was doing fine and will not be hampered by injury in 2007.  He will split time with Damien Sims again this year, as he did last year.  He can also be a solid weapon and or outlet out of the backfield for a young quarterback in Jake Christensen; hitting Albert in stride on a swing route could lead to a big play, as he will usually have a linebacker to beat.  Iowa also utilized AY in the slot at times last year, spreading the defense and creating more space.  I think Iowa may be able to do more of this in 2007, especially with two capable and dangerous pass catchers at tight end in Tony Moeaki and Brandon Myers. 

 

THIS & THAT

-"Albert is practicing really well. Hopefully we can keep him healthy. He wasn't entirely healthy last year. Hopefully we've got him to where he needs to be. I think he feels pretty good right now. I'm afraid to say we're in decent shape there, because that's what we thought in 2004, then all hell broke loose." – Kirk Ferentz on 4/11/07

 

I know that some people are wondering, ‘Was anyone really healthy in 2006?'  It's a good question, in hindsight.  Since last season ended, we know that Drew Tate, Albert Young, Ken Iwebema and Mitch King were all dinged up, at a minimum, for most of the 2006 season. 

 

If you think about last year's team, you would be hard pressed to find a foursome more key to the success of last year's team, heading into the season, than those four.  All four were/are difference makers, and none of them was 100%.  Tate was injured before the season began.  Iwebema got nicked up in the Syracuse game and was never himself.  King was bothered by a hamstring for two-thirds of the year and AY was hampered for more than half the year.  Throw in Kyle Schlicher's preseason quadriceps strain, and you have the makings for what we saw; a turnover filled year where Iowa didn't force many turnovers itself.

 

Having a healthy Albert Young in 2007 can make a mountain of difference…If he and Sims are hitting on all cylinders, that will take some pressure off of Christensen and the defense.

 

THE ALBERT YOUNG FILE

Career totals include 454 rushing attempts for 2,205 yards and 17 touchdowns . . . ranks eighth in career rushing yards . . . ranked eighth in the Big Ten in rushing yards per game (59.6) in 2006 . . . has surpassed 100 rushing yards in 10 career games, including seven straight games, an Iowa record, in 2005 . . . in 2005 became just the fourth Iowa sophomore and 11th Iowa player ever to surpass 1,000 yards in a season . . . 38 rushing attempts at Northwestern in 2005 rank as fourth highest single-game total at Iowa and his 202 rushing yards in that game tie as ninth best single-game total . . . one of three juniors selected to 2006 Leadership Council.

2006 Honors - - Coaches Appreciation Award, offense.

2006 Pre-season Honors - - Named pre-season honorable mention all-America by Street & Smith's . . . pre-season first team all-Big Ten by Street & Smith's and CollegeFootballNews.com . . . pre-season second team all-Big Ten by Lindy's and Athlon Sports . . . named seventh best running back in the nation by The Sporting News . . . named eighth best overall player in the Big Ten Conference by CollegeFootballNews.com . . . named to pre-season watch list for the Doak Walker Award and the Maxwell Award . . . 2006 - - Led team in rushing attempts (178), rushing yards (779) touchdowns (seven) and all-purpose yards (1,004), while ranking fourth in receptions (30) and fifth in receiving yards (225) . . . listed as first team running back following spring practice . . . started at running back in opening win over Montana . . . rushed 19 times for 93 yards and one score, with no negative yards . . . also had four receptions for 55 yards and one touchdown . . . scored first touchdown on a five-yard reception and added a five-yard TD run in the fourth period . . . started at running back in double overtime win at Syracuse . . . rushed 18 times for 73 yards and one touchdown, a one-yard run in the second overtime to lift Iowa to the 20-13 win . . . also had three pass receptions for 29 yards and recorded one solo tackle . . . started at running back in win over Iowa State . . . rushed 18 times for 57 yards vs. Iowa State and also had five receptions for 28 yards . . . started at running back in win at Illinois . . . led rushing attack with 57 yards on 14 carries and scored Iowa's second touchdown on a six-yard run . . . also had six receptions for 40 yards . . . started at running back in loss to top-ranked Ohio State . . . rushed 11 times for 48 yards and one touchdown and had one reception for six yards . . . touchdown came on 15-yard run in second quarter to cut deficit to 14-10, scoring the first rushing touchdown allowed by OSU in five games . . . did not see action in win over Purdue due to injury . . . did not see action in loss at Indiana due to injury . . . returned to action in loss at Michigan, but did not start and saw limited action . . . nine rushing attempts for 17 yards vs. Michigan, along with three pass receptions for 24 yards . . . started at running back in win over Northern Illinois as offense gained 405 yards total offense . . . rushed 25 times for 124 yards and one touchdown vs. Northern Illinois, surpassing the century mark for the first time this season and ninth time in his career . . . also had three receptions for 23 yards . . . rushed seven yards for first touchdown of the game in Iowa's 24-14 win . . . started at running back in loss to Northwestern . . . rushed 18 times for 72 yards vs. Northwestern and had two receptions for five yards . . . started at running back in loss to Wisconsin . . . rushed for 41 yards on eight attempts vs. Wisconsin and had two pass receptions for nine yards . . . started at running back in loss at Minnesota as offense gained season-best 546 yards total offense . . . rushed 25 times for 133 yards and one touchdown vs. Minnesota, along with one reception for six yards . . . scoring play came on a one-yard run . . . started at running back vs. Texas in Alamo Bowl . . . rushed 13 times for 64 yards and one touchdown vs. Texas . . . scored first points of the game vs. Texas on a one-yard run to cap Iowa's opening drive of the game.

2005 Honors - - One of 10 semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award . . . co-Most Valuable Player . . . Coaches Appreciation Award, offense . . . second team all-Big Ten by league media . . . honorable mention all-Big Ten by league coaches . . . 2005 - - Listed as co-second team running back following spring practice . . . season totals include 249 rushing attempts for 1,334 yards and eight TDs . . . also had 24 receptions for 244 yards and averaged 15.2 yards on 12 kickoff returns . . . saw action in opening win over Ball State, rushing five times for 61 yards and a touchdown . . . had long run of 31 yards and scoring run of two yards . . . started at running back at Iowa State for first career start . . . rushed 18 times for career-best 140 yards at ISU, surpassing 100 yards for first time in career . . . had career-best 36-yard run . . . started at running back in win over Northern Iowa . . . rushed 13 times for 97 yards and two scores vs. UNI, scoring on runs of 10 and one yard . . . started at running back at Ohio State . . . rushed 10 times for 25 yards at OSU and had four pass receptions for 19 yards . . . started at running back in win over Illinois as offense rushed for 301 yards and gained 476 yards total offense . . . rushed 13 times for 102 yards vs. Illini, surpassing 100 yards for the second time in five games . . . also had four receptions for 51 yards before leaving game early in the third quarter . . . started at running back in win at Purdue . . . rushed 36 times for 165 yards in win at Purdue, reaching career-highs in attempts and yards . . . also had 35 yards on two pass receptions and 17 yards on three KO returns, giving him a season-best 217 all-purpose yards . . . started at running back in win over Indiana as offense gained 425 yards total offense . . . rushed 26 times for 125 yards and two touchdowns vs. Hoosiers, including scoring runs of 31 and 26 yards . . . also had two pass receptions for 63 yards, including a career-long 51-yard effort, and gained 14 yards on one kickoff return . . . started at running back vs. Michigan . . . rushed 30 times for 153 yards vs. Wolverines, had four pass receptions for 17 yards and gained 18 yards on one KO return for 188 all-purpose yards . . . started at running back at Northwestern . . . reached career-highs in rushing attempts (38), rushing yards (202), KO return yards (70) and all-purpose yards (274) at Northwestern . . . scored two touchdowns for the third time this season vs. the Wildcats, scoring on runs of 12 and 21 yards . . . started at running back in win at Wisconsin at offense gained 390 yards total offense . . . had 26 rushing attempts for 127 yards vs. Badgers, along with 45 yards on four pass receptions and 41 yards on two KO returns . . . started at running back in win over Minnesota as offense gained 613 yards total offense . . . rushed 21 times for 103 yards and one touchdown vs. Gophers, surpassing 100 rushing yards for seventh straight game, raising season total to 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns . . . started at running back in Outback Bowl vs. Florida, rushing 13 times for 34 yards . . . also gained 12 yards on three pass receptions.

2004 Honors - - One of two redshirt freshmen selected to team Leadership Council for 2004 season . . . 2004 - - listed as second team running back following spring practice . . . saw action in opening win over Kent State, rushing 23 times for 87 yards and a touchdown . . . scored on a one-yard run and also had two pass receptions for 22 yards . . . saw limited action in win over Iowa State after being injured in the first half . . . rushed four times for five yards, including a one-yard touchdown run on Iowa's first drive of the game . . . had knee surgery following second game and missed the remainder of the season.

2003 - - Redshirted after injury in pre-season camp.

High school honors - - Named New Jersey offensive Player of the Year as a senior . . .SuperPrep All-American... 2002 Tom Lemming Prep Football All-American... rated 160th best player in the country by Tom Lemming... first team all-state honors as a senior... three-time first team all-conference selection... second team all-conference at wide receiver as a freshman... team MVP as a junior and senior... served as team caption as a senior... second-team all-state as a sophomore and honorable mention as a junior . . . Career - - rushed for 2,180 and scored 32 touchdowns senior season . . . finished prep career as the all-time leading rusher in South Jersey (5,411 yards)... first running back in South Jersey to rush for over 2,000 yards in two seasons... rushed for 2007 yards and scored 25 TDs (20 rush, 4 rec., 1 ret.) as a sophomore... rushed for 1,000 yards and scored 23 TDs (17 rush, 5 rec., 1 ret.) as a junior despite missing three games with a sprained MCL.

Personal - - Born 2/25/85 . . . undecided major . . . parents are Darlene Young and Carson Miller . . . high school coaches were Frank Paris and Russ Horton.

Young's Collegiate Stats

Rushing

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Lng.

Freshman

27

92

3.4

2

18

Sophomore

249

1,334

5.4

8

36

Junior

178

779

4.3

7

26

Career

454

2,205

4.9

7

26

 

 

 

 

 

Receiving

No.

Yds.

Avg.

TD

Lng.

Freshman

2

22

11.0

0

16

Sophomore

24

244

10.2

0

51

Junior

30

225

7.5

1

35

Career

56

493

8.8

1

51


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