Marcus Coker, Andrew Green, Austin Cassidy

Iowa grants leading rusher Coker a release


After a December of behind-the-scenes turmoil that included a suspension for Iowa’s bowl game,  it was reported that Marcus Coker would be back at the school and likely reinstated to the football program.

“Yes, the invitation is there for him to come back,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta was quoted as saying Dec. 31. “We’ll let this play out and see what happens.”

What happened, as it turns out, is the exact opposite of a return.

In a press release, the school announced that Coker “has withdrawn his application to enroll in spring semester classes.”  Additionally, the release confirmed that Coker had asked for, and been granted a release from, his Iowa scholarship.

There was no statement from head coach Kirk Ferentz or any other school official contained in the release.

Suffice to say, the loss of Coker is a significant blow to the Hawkeyes’ offense in general and their running game in particular.  Coker led the Hawkeyes in rushing during the regular season with 1,384 yards and 15 touchdowns.  The second-leading rusher?  De’Andre Johnson with 79 yards.  The only other player on the team to score a rushing touchdown this season was quarterback James Vandenberg, who had three of them.

Coker was a four-star member of Iowa’s 2010 recruiting class coming out of high school in Hyattsville, Maryland, rated by as the No. 22 RB in the country.  It’s unclear which schools Coker will consider for a transfer, although Maryland was one of a handful of schools — Kansas State, Minnesota and Wake Forest being the others — to offer a scholarship during the first recruiting process.

Incidentally, Coker is the second Hawkeyes back to transfer in the first 10 days of the New Year; late last week, Ferentz confirmed Mika’il McCall is leaving the program.

SEC shut out of AP top five for first time in half a decade

Stephen F. Austin visits Amon G. Carter Stadium to play the No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs.
AP Photo
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The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.

Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.

And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.

That group breaks down as follows:

  1. Ohio State
  2. TCU
  3. Baylor
  4. Michigan State
  5. Utah

An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:

  1. Ohio State
  2. Oregon
  3. Boise State
  4. TCU
  5. Nebraska

Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.

None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.

Georgia loses ILB Reggie Carter for the season

Reggie Carter, Charone Peake
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After battling to get on the field throughout the season’s first five weeks, Georgia is shutting down inside linebacker Reggie Carter for the rest of the year, Dawgs head coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday evening.

Carter fought shoulder problems throughout the year, and saw action in only one of Georgia’s first five games. A junior, Carter will be eligible for a medical redshirt.

The Snellville, Ga., native recorded 28 tackles in 12 appearances in 2014 and eight tackles in eight appearances as a freshman in 2013. UAB transfer Jake Ganus started in the spot many pegged to Carter before injure ruptured his season.

Carter totaled two stops in one appearance this season.