The football gods taketh away, and the football gods giveth, in the form of the commitment of blue-chip running back recruit Greg Garmon, who made his commitment during halftime at last night's Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. It's like the running back circle of life. Garmon is a consensus 4* recruit with a list of offers a mile long, including a host of BCS schools (Arizona State, Arkansas, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Penn State, Ohio State, and Texas A&M, to name a few); he chose Iowa over strong late pushes by Arkansas and Miami (who reportedly wanted him to play defensive back).
As for why he chose Iowa... well, two factors seem most prominent in his decision-making process. One, he hails from Erie, PA, a town that's been very good to Iowa (see: Bob Sanders and Ed Hinkel) and Garmon was impressed by the love Iowa still has for Erie (and, in particular, Sanders, its most celebrated son):
"It was better than I expected," Garmon said after an unofficial visit to Iowa in August. "The thing that I love is how they still love Bob Sanders. They have pictures of him from when he was there all over the place and speak highly of him.
"Bob made it out of (Erie) and really is the only one to make it big. When people talk about football in Erie, they talk about Bob."the
"I could tell right away that I would fit in good," he said earlier this year. "They also showed me some film of when Shonn Greene was there, how they just pounded the ball against Purdue. They just pounded at the end of the game, the whole series. They didn't pass it.
"They run the ball a lot. As a running back, that's what you like to see."
He's going to be in for a rude awakening when he gets an up-close look at some of Ken O'Keefe's autistic playcalling tendencies... but seriously, Iowa does like to give plenty of carries to running backs -- or the lead running back, at least. We'll see if the coaches ever actually remember how to utilize multiple running backs in a game (or season).
In the meantime, Garmon arrives at Iowa as the baby bear of running backs: just right. While Coker has size (but not great speed) and Canzeri has speed (but far from ideal size), Garmon appears to be a nice mix of both: he's listed at 6-2, 200, with reported 40 times in the 4.4-4.5 range. That speed is on full display in the highlight video up top (and in these junior year highlights, which contain some even more ridiculous runs), as is his ability to change directions quickly* and a physicality that allows him to get solid yards after the initial contact. His blitz pick-up and pass-catching skills are still TBD, but in terms of pure running, he already looks quite good.
* And, yes, those runs where he starts heading in one direction, cuts, and heads back in the opposite direction and makes the entire defense look silly aren't likely to work as well at the Big Ten level, but damn if they aren't fun to watch.
Of course, Iowa's running depth chart is so loaded that they won't need him next year and it's almost certain that he'll redshirt, so HA HA JUST KIDDING. Garmon may be second on the depth chart as soon as he sets foot on campus -- and possibly even first if Marcus Coker really ends up not returning to Iowa. In addition to the valuable depth he'll add to Iowa's always-depleted running back corps, Garmon might also be a factor in the kick return game. He has a few nice kickoff returns in the highlights and, lord knows, that's an area where Iowa has needed help for quite some time.
Finally, AIRBHG obviously started working his evil magic early in Garmon's case -- his house burned down the summer before sixth grade and he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Lymphoma as an eighth grader. Thankfully, the cancer went into remission six months later and he's had a clean bill of health ever since. Still, he's had to endure a lot already in his young life -- hopefully AIRBHG will leave him the hell alone during his time at Iowa. In any event, welcome aboard, Mr. Garmon.
NOTE: You can get caught up on all of Iowa's entire 2012 football recruiting class at the mothership.