June 2, 2011
MIH: #5 Marcus Coker
Raise your hand if you thought one year ago that Marcus Coker would be the only returning running back with more than one carry. That alone makes Coker indispensable for the Hawkeyes in the 2011 season. After the much hyped trio of backs all left the Iowa team in the past year, Coker is essentially the last man standing at a key position for the Hawkeyes. Find out why Coker is so important this season.
MEASUREMENTS: 6-foot and 230 pounds
THE NUMBERS: 645 rushing yards and three touchdowns. 2 pass receptions for 23 yards.
WHY COKER MADE THE LIST:
Who would have thought one year ago that Marcus Coker would make the top five in our list of Most Indispensable Hawkeyes list?
Rewind to one year ago when Iowa fans were concerned about how the Hawkeye coaches would keep the running back trio of Brandon Wegher, Adam Robinson, and Jewel Hampton happy. While fans were excited about Marcus Coker arriving on campus last summer, no one could have imagined that one year later he would be the last man standing in the backfield heading into the 2011 season.
That is the reality as Wegher, Robinson, and Hampton have all left the program and won't be returning. Any doubts that fans might have had about Coker's ability to handle a heavy work load were essentially erased after his 219 yard rushing performance against Missouri in the 2010 Insight Bowl. He has the size, speed, and power to be a workhorse back in the Big Ten. While it's too soon to tag him with the label of the next Shonn Greene, it's hard not to draw a few comparisons. One thing that will be a concern is his health. Last season he broke his collarbone in fall camp and given his running style, which is more upright, he will have to make a few technical adjustments when taking punishment.
Depth is an issue at running back this year for the Hawkeyes simply because behind Coker, only Jason White has a carry at the college level. DeAndre Johnson has a year in the program, but the rest of the supporting cast at running back will be made up of true freshmen.
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