Iowa football players Barkley Hill and A.J. Jones have left the Iowa football program and will transfer to play football somewhere else.
There are reasons to suspect that these transfers are a product of a lack of foreseeable playing time as neither seemed like they would see the field much this season, if at all.
Jones, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, was unlisted on the depth chart. He also was brought in with a class of 5 wide receivers, a group that he was not separating from like classmate Derrick Willies. Also, Jones’ brother Jyaz Jones was previously headed to Iowa before Iowa cut his scholarship in favor of a different prospect. It is unclear whether it was playing time, Iowa’s treatment of his brother, or a combination of both that prompted A.J. Jones to leave.
It has yet to be announced where Jones is leaving to, but he may go to one of the schools he previously committed to. Before he decided on Iowa, he committed to New Mexico State and Colorado State. He may choose to switch to one of those schools or he may go a different route entirely.
Hill’s situation is a bit more interesting. He was the favorite to start at running back as a true freshman heading into the 2012 season. Then he tore his ACL knocking him out for the season. Then shortly after in November, Hill got a DUI which is never a good thing when fighting for playing time.
By the time he was fully recovered from his injury, he had an established starter in Mark Weisman and a very solid back up in Damon Bullock ahead of him. Then add in the emergence of Jordan Canzeri and LeShun Daniels, and Barkley Hill finds himself fifth in the running back rotation. In my running back preview I had Barkley Hill getting around 20 to 30 carries on the season, least of the 5 top running backs.
Another reason why this transfer is interesting is because Hill is transferring to the University of Northern Iowa. Because he is transferring to a FCS school, Hill will be able to play right away. That means that he will be available to suit up against Iowa in the first game of the season. It remains to be seen how much playing time, if any, he will receive, but it will be interesting to see if he has any advantage against Iowa having seen their defenses in practice and games.
Neither transfer will impact the team too much as neither were expected to compete for much playing time this season. Both running back and wide receiver were positions of strength, at least depth wise. Iowa has four total redshirt and true freshmen right now at running back. In spite of Jones departure, they still have 4 redshirt freshmen at wide receiver, plus their incoming wide receivers and athletes who might move to receiver.
As for the scholarships, Iowa had 87 players on scholarship, two over the limit. Now that these two players are departing, they are back down to the limit of 85. If anyone else transfers, the scholarships will be added onto the 2015 recruiting class.
I want to wish both Jones and Hill luck for the rest of their college careers. Well, maybe best of luck for Hill after he is done playing Iowa.