If you can play running back, Iowa State may have a spot on its roster for you. A spot on the team opened up Wednesday afternoon when the school announced the dismissal of running back Martinez Syria. The reason? A violation of team rules, of course.
Syria rushed for 47 yards and a touchdown in five games for Iowa State last fall. During the season he suffered a concussion that forced him to miss even more playing time, and the team held him out of spring practices due to a neck injury. The running back depth was not particularly deep for the Cyclones heading into the 2015 season, and the loss of Syria reduces the total number of backs in the stable by one.
Syria is the third running back gone from last year’s roster too. As noted by The Des Moines Register, Iowa State head coach Paul Rhoads previously confirmed DeVondrick Nealy was no longer a part of the program, and Aaron Wimberly graduated. But don’t worry, Class of 2015 running back Sheldon Croney should be available to play despite shooting himself in the hand in May.
It’s been a rough offseason for Iowa State running backs.
And now we’ll update you on one of the weirdest injuries sustained by a college football player this offseason, or any other offseason for that matter.
Last Friday it was reported that 2015 Iowa State signee Sheldon Croney accidentally shot himself in the left hand earlier in the week. No update was available on his condition at the time, but his future head coach stepped up to allay any fears Cyclone fans may have had about the running back’s availability for the 2015 season.
“He is doing fine,” Paul Rhoads told the Ames Tribune. “There is going to have to be a healing process that takes place. With the medical reports we have right now we have are confident that by summertime, about when he arrives, he’ll be able to do most everything everyone else is doing.”
The incident that injured Conley occurred in Bakersfield last Tuesday. According to the police department in that California city, “Croney found the gun of a friend’s father and it accidentally discharged.”
Croney was a three-star member of ISU’s 2015 recruiting class. With the departure of DeVondrick Nealy, penciled in as the starter at running back, back in February, Croney will have the opportunity to contribute immediately as a true freshman. Provided he can stay away from firearms, of course.
(Photo credit: Rivals.com)
A day of addition was also one of ongoing subtraction for Iowa State.
In announcing and discussing his 2015 recruiting class, Paul Rhoads also confirmed that DeVondrick Nealy is one of a handful of players no longer with the football program. The ISU head coach stated that Nealy left voluntarily a couple of weeks ago, although some of the departures have been non-voluntary.
“We are a blue-collar football program that has no excuses and no explanations,” Rhoads said. “There have been a number of dismissals and departures from our program for failing to meet these high standards and expectations.”
Nealy was third on the team in rushing in 2014 with 271 yards, and was expected to head into at least summer camp as the starting running back. No reason was given for his departure.
The Cyclones did add a pair of running backs on signing day, Sheldon Croney and Joshua Thomas, at least one of whom may be forced into immediate service due to the lack of depth at the position.
In addition to Nealy’s departure, Rhoads also announced that redshirt junior wide receiver Tad Ecby and redshirt freshman wide receiver Chase Onken were no longer on the team. Ecby caught eight passes (10th on the team) for 237 yards (fifth) in 2014, one year after finishing fourth on the team in receptions (22) and receiving yards (233). Onken didn’t play in any games during his time in Ames.
The trio of departures brings to eight the number of Cyclones who have either been dismissed, left voluntarily or transferred since January. Among those was one of ISU’s top returning receivers and a starting defensive back.
At least as it pertains to Iowa State, it’s dismissal — and departure — day as we head into the weekend.
Earlier Friday it was reported that wide receiver P.J. Harris had been dismissed from the football program. Now, the school is announcing that safety TJ Mutcherson has been dismissed as well. No reason for the dismissal was revealed, although the player had been suspended for the final two hames of the 2014 season for unspecified violations of team rules.
In 2014, Mutcherson started all 10 games in which he played as a redshirt sophomore. His 76 tackles were second on the team while his two interceptions were third.
The defensive back played in eight games in 2013.
In addition to Mutcherson, it was also announced that wide receiver Damein Lawry, tight end Alex Leslie and offensive lineman Duaron Williams have all decided to transfer from the Cyclones. Lawry played in 17 games during his time in Ames, mostly on special teams, while Leslie played in 10 last season.
Normally it’s an arrest that precedes the dismissal of a college football player. In the case of P.J. Harris, it’s the exact opposite.
An Iowa State spokesperson confirmed to Bobby La Gesse of the Ames Tribune that Harris had been dismissed from the football program Jan. 13. The reason for the dismissal was your standard violation of unspecified team rules, although the school hadn’t previously announced or publicly acknowledged the forced separation.
Then, earlier today, the wide receiver was arrested on a charge of aggravated domestic assault/strangulation. From the Tribune:
Harris was charged at 10:48 p.m. on Thursday, according to Ames arrest records. The incident between Harris and the victim occurred on Thursday morning, according to Ames Cmdr. Jason Tuttle. The two got into an argument when the victim went to Harris’ apartment at 4503 Twain Circle, Apt. 306. Harris allegedly pushed the victim onto a wall, threw the victim down on a bed and strangled the victim with his hands, Tuttle said.
Harris was one of the Cyclones’ top receivers early on in 2014 before going down in mid-September with what turned out to be a season-ending broken leg. At the time of his injury, Harris was tied for second — with two other players — on the team with nine receptions.
Harris, a three-star member of ISU’s 2012 recruiting class, caught seven passes as a redshirt freshman in 2013.