After what had been a solid stretch of no off-field issues for Kirk Ferentz and the Iowa football program, we’ve had quite a bit of news recently. Not the good kind either.
It was a little over a week ago that we learned of Brady Reiff’s incident mistaking a police car for his Uber ride home from downtown Iowa City. That was followed up this past weekend by starting right tackle Tristan Wirfs deciding to hop on his moped in the wee morning hours after drinking. Two drinking-related offenses in a week and Hawkeye fans have news to talk about for the first time in awhile.
Less than 48 hours after the Wirfs incident, Iowa fans were dealt another blow as we learned today that redshirt senior safety Brandon Snyder will be departing the team.
Brandon Snyder, who doesn't have Twitter, asked me to release this emotional statement about his departure from the Hawkeye program. Wish him nothing but the best. pic.twitter.com/CE1v0HObRq— Chad Leistikow (@ChadLeistikow) July 31, 2018
It’s certainly a sad turn of events for a player every Hawkeye fan should have been rooting for. After returning from an ACL tear earlier than most expected (less than 6 months, which is really incredible), Snyder burst onto the scene a season ago with a pick-six against Illinois.
Unfortunately for Snyder and the Hawkeyes, he also tore his ACL again and would miss the remainder of the season. A second surgery and a second recovery were in store for the redshirt senior to-be.
From a release:
University of Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz announced Tuesday that Brandon Snyder is leaving the program to pursue an opportunity to receive more time on the field.
“Brandon is a fifth-year senior who has earned his undergraduate degree and wants to see as much playing time as possible,” said Ferentz. “We are allowing him to be released, which means he can play for another team immediately.”
Snyder contributed significantly to the team as a free safety, but spent most of the past two years rehabilitating from two ACL injuries. In his first game back in 2017, Snyder had an 89-yard interception return for a touchdown against Illinois. It was Snyder’s first career touchdown and tied as the sixth-longest return in Iowa football history. Unfortunately, Snyder reinjured his left knee in that contest and was sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Now healthy, Snyder faces increased competition for his position and an uncertain path to the field.
“We appreciate Brandon’s goal to play his full senior year,” said Ferentz. “We wish him the very best and thank him for his grit on the field.”
As Snyder told Chad Leistikow, the road to recovery was a long and lonely one. One that tested Snyder’s limits and pushed him beyond them. While the Hawkeyes were preparing for their bowl game in New York City, Snyder was arrested for DUI. He wasn’t able to travel for the Pinstripe Bowl, but appeared to be back on track this spring. His recovery was underway and he was listed as a starter in last week’s two-deeps.
Today we learned that Snyder’s struggles continue and he’s come to a mutual agreement with the UI staff to depart the program. Snyder hasn’t announced where he’ll be headed, but wherever that is, he’ll be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer.
As a senior leader who was incredibly talented, he’ll surely be missed. Fortunately for the Hawkeyes, the safety spot is one with tremendous depth. Look for Jake Gervase to fill the void left by Snyder as he did a season ago.
Here’s hoping Snyder is able to get things straightened out and move forward with his life, wherever that may be.
UPDATE: In a statement released via Chad Leistikow on Twitter, Snyder has announced his intention to spend his final season at South Dakota State. Their first game of the season is against Iowa State. Best of luck to Brandon Snyder.