After a disastrous Outback Bowl outing earlier in the week, Iowa’s spirits were picked up a bit on Thursday as star tailback Akrum Wadley announced he will return to the Hawkeyes for his senior season and not declare for the upcoming NFL Draft.
“It was the right decision for me and my family,” said Wadley in a statement. “I met with my parents and we laid out the pros and cons, and came to the decision that it would be best for me to stay at Iowa for my senior year. The main three reasons are to earn my degree, to have another year to prepare physically, and to not end my collegiate career on a bad note; we have some unfinished business.”
Wadley did not indicate after the team’s 30-3 loss to Florida as to whether he would return to Iowa City or turn pro but many expected him to give strong consideration to the latter option following a strong close to the 2016 season. The junior led the team in rushing on the year with 1,081 yards and a total of 13 scores as the Hawkeyes’ most reliable option on offense.
Given that senior and fellow 1,000 yard rusher LeShun Daniels is moving on, there should be an even heavier workload for Wadley in 2017. He had a huge game in Iowa’s upset of Michigan last season and was the only positive on that side of the ball in the Hawkeyes’ bowl game, so it’s safe to say this is very welcome news for Kirk Ferentz and the coaching staff.