The 2010 season is all about redemption for future Iowa Hawkeye Ray Hamilton. The verbal tight end commitment only played in six games as a junior as he suffered a right knee injury and had it scoped. Coming off their school best record in 2008, his high school Strongville (OH) struggled only finishing 3-7 on the season.
"It was tough and I felt helpless. There were certain things I could see from the sideline and I would think to myself, 'if I could be out there I do this or that'. You learn a lot about the team and yourself being on the sidelines. You see a lot about the game," stated Hamilton to HawkeyeInsider.com. "I'm really excited to get going. It's weird to think about that it's my senior year. After growing up in Strongville for the last 17 years and playing on the football team for the last four years, it's all most surreal. The team is ready to go and for me individually, you don't have to tell me twice. I'm ready to strap up and go."
The Mustangs kick things off a week from today and will look to return to their winning ways.
"A lot of the guys were sophomores on the team two years ago when we had the best season in school history (10-2). We know how to win, it's just a matter of finding the right guys to lead the team," said Hamilton. "We need guys to be vocal and do the little things that great teams do and good teams don't. I think we are more than ready for that this year. None of us want to have the season that we had last year."
With limited chances last season, Hamilton recorded 22 catches for 300 yards and one touchdown. His numbers are expected to at least double this year. The Scout.com 4-star tight end (15th nationally) put in more work this off season than ever before, knowing his football career is really just beginning.
"I did a lot of things this off season to better me physically, but also mentally. Whether it was staying an extra 15 minutes to watch film or running two extra laps. Breaking down film with the younger guys. I just tried to do the extra things this summer that great players do and the good players don't," said Hamilton. "This season for me I would love to stay healthy for a whole season because last season was hard for me. I would love to help my team by being the best captain I can. I know a lot of guys will be looking at me and seeing how I do things."
With schools still pounding down his door, Hamilton called Coach Ferentz on Thursday to check in.
"I called Coach Ferentz and told him that I'm 100% committed to Iowa and that he didn't need to worry about me," stated Hamilton. "I have found out that recruiting won't be over until I sign the papers. When talking with some of the guys that played at Strongville before, some of those older guys gave me the heads up that these teams won't stop and will keep recruiting me. A verbal commitment is nothing right now, but a verbal commitment. I know that I'm going to be recruited, but like I have told people. I knew before announcing my decision that I was 100% on Iowa. I'm not a guy that is going to bounce around. For me, I needed to know before I gave my verbal."
HawkeyeInsider.com will check in with Hamilton weekly during the season to find out how his season is going.