was dismissed from the Iowa football team Aug. 7 after being charged with public
intoxication and two other offenses. Sapp
considered transferring to several other institutions before deciding on playing
for UNI. He met with Hartzell and
UNI head coach Mark Farley early in the process and then met with the
Panthers' senior players, who, along with Harzell and Farley, signed off on
Sapp coming to play at UNI.
been a long and on-going process to get to this point," Hartzell said.
"We put some pretty serious restrictions on Benny, we stated some
criteria which he needs to follow, he's passed every test, he's met with
Mark and myself, and then all the assistant coaches. He met with our seniors.
We talked to the team about his transfer. We cleared every hurdle, and Benny has passed every test.
feeling about his transfer is that this is a young guy that means well, a young
guy that deserves a second chance, a young guy that can come to UNI and receive
a good education, but who also can straighten himself out and move ahead,"
Hartzell added. "Everyone of us
deserves a second chance at some point in time, and as a parent of a couple of
kids, I know I would be thankful if someone gave those kids of mine a second
was a starting cornerback for the Hawks last year.
He recorded 36 solo and 13 assisted tackles, including three tackles for
loss, three interceptions and 15 pass breakups, ranking sixth in the Big Ten.
As a freshman in 2000, he was named first team freshman all-American by
Rivals.com after seeing action in all 12 games.
He moved into the starting lineup against Indiana and started every
conference game. He recorded 37
solo and 18 assisted tackles his first year, along with two forced fumbles, 14
pass breakups, three tackles for loss and one sack.
leaving Iowa, Sapp was named to the pre-season watch list for the Bronco
Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded each year to the nation's top defensive
is an opportunity for Benny to redefine his life," Farley said.
"We set standards higher for Benny than even for the rest of our
players. I tried to make it
difficult for him. I met with him,
looked him in the eye. He's a
young man who's remorseful and wants to make a change for the positive.
He's a talented young man that we hope brings a work ethic as well as
talent to our program."
Panthers graduated all four starters from last year's secondary, so there is a
need at that position and it's a position that still needs to be solidified on
the UNI roster.
will have to earn a position on our team just like everybody else," Farley
said. "I did extensive research on him, more so than I have with
any other player. He's entering a
position that is very young on our team and has not been solidified.
If he would have played in, say, our offensive line, it might have been a
different story because we have a veteran offensive line."
earned first team all-Broward County at Boyd Anderson High School.
He was ranked as the 14th best prospect in Florida and earned
all-state honorable mention recognition. He
was named the MVP for the North defense in the Broward County Athletic
Association all-star game. He was
team captain his senior year. He
also lettered in wrestling, volleyball and track and field.
is the cousin of Tampa Bay defensive lineman Warren Sapp.