Monday, May 11, 2009

Final Project: Top 5 Iowa JUCO Transfers

The topic of my final project was University of Iowa football players transferring to Iowa Central Community College, and then back. So, that got me thinking, who are the best Ferentz-era junior college transfers to ever grace a Hawkeye jersey?

There have been many talented players to end up at Iowa via the JUCO route. Which is surprising since Ferentz rarely ever recruits from the JUCO rankings. So, without further ado, here are your top five Ferentz-era (1999-Present) transfers:

Honorable Mention:
Amari Spievey

I didn't include Spievey in the top five since he is a current player. Spievey has definitely shown flashes of greatness throughout his brief Iowa career and could, eventually, be near the top of this list. Spievey was a redshirt freshman for Iowa in 2006 before transferring to Iowa Central Community College in 2007. Spievey was a beast, as expected, in the JUCO ranks racking up seven interceptions including two for touchdowns. He also scored on two kickoff returns and blocked four punts. After returning to Iowa City, Spievey didn't slow down a bit. In 2008, he recorded 66 tackles and had four interceptions including an explosive 55 yard INT return against Minnesota.

5. Nathan Chandler

Chandler didn't do anything special. But, he also didn't do anything wrong. What he did do was win. With Chandler under center, as a senior, the Hawkeyes went 10-3. Chandler saved his best for last by going 13-25 with 170 yards and 1 TD and no interceptions in a 37-17 blowout against a Ron Zook coached Florida Gators team. This was Iowa's second of three straight ten win seasons. Chandler was a community college All-American before transferring to Iowa.

4. Clinton Solomon

Solomon faced academic problems following his freshman season at Iowa. During his freshman campaign he had only 14 receptions for 159 yards and one touchdown. Solomon would later transfer to Iowa Central Community College in order to get his grades back on track. At ICCC Solomon had 34 catches for 537 yards and five touchdowns.

“We are a heavily run-oriented team, so for him to put up those kind of numbers
in our offense just shows the athletic ability he had,” Iowa Central coach Kevin
Twait said. “He made some incredible plays for us. He was really a difference

Twait still recalls a game against Ellsworth Community College,
no six years later, where Solomon had three receiving touchdowns and took the
game over.

“We would have not won that game without him,” Twait said.
“In fact, we probably would have dropped a couple more games that season without
Solomon only improved after returning to Iowa and turned into an all-time great Hawkeye receiver. He finished his Iowa career with 118 receptions for 1,864 yards and 14 touchdowns. This places him fourth in career touchdown receptions and seventh in career receiving yards.

3. Marshall Yanda

Marshal Yanda played two seasons at North Iowa Area Community College before joining the Hawkeyes in 2005. Yanda immediately made in impact and was one of the anchors of the Iowa offensive line. In fact, Yanda played so well he was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Yanda has since earned a starting spot and is one of the key elements of the Ravens offensive line heading into the 2009 NFL season.

However, the best thing about Marshal Yanda is that he knows how to hit. Yanda is the owner of one of my favorite blocks in Iowa football history. And yes it helps that the guy he hit was a Cyclone. He Rashawn Parker, welcome to the Iowa-Iowa State rivalry:

2. Shonn Greene

Greene just keeps showing up in this blog. There's not a whole lot more that needs to be said, as everyone knows the Shonn Greene story by now. He's everyone's favorite furniture mover turned Doak Walker award winner. Greene isn't a 'true' JUCO transfer, however, after facing academic troubles Greene transferred to Kirkwood Community College and only took classes. After a year out of the game he returned with a vengeance, rushing for 1,850 yards and 20TDs and won the Doak Walker as the nation's best running back. Since then, he was drafted by the New York Jets in the third round (1st pick).

1. Brad Banks

Brad Banks is a Hawkeye legend. Banks was one of the most athletically gifted quarterbacks in Iowa history. Although, he may not have been the pure passer that the Chuck's were (Long and Hartlieb), he made very few mistakes. Banks exploded onto the scene in 2002 after sitting a year behind Kyle McCann (I know, right?). As a senior, Banks was 17-294 with 2,573 yards, 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He was also the leader of the incredibly talented 2002 Iowa team. Banks helped lead the Hawkeyes to the 2003 Orange Bowl and a 10-2 overall record. He was rewarded for his season winning the Davey O'Brien award (nation's best QB) and was named the Associated Press Player of the Year. Banks was also runner-up for the 2002 Heisman trophy (Carson Palmer).

Before Iowa, Banks was enrolled at Central Florida University as a freshman. He later transferred to Hinds Junior College after his freshman season, and later the University of Iowa.

Photos from: Spievey: CR Gazette; Nathan Chandler: Getty Images ; Clinton Solomon: ; Marshal Yanda: Quad City Times ; Shonn Greene: ; Brad Banks: Getty Images