Iowa lost one running back earlier in the week when Greg Garmon opted to leave the program. They gained another running back yesterday when LeShun Daniels, a consensus 3* recruit, changed his verbal commitment from Boston College to Iowa. And so the cycle continues at Iowa.
Unlike Garmon, who was a clear change of pace from the usual Iowa running back -- small and speedy versus big and brawny -- Daniels is much more like the running backs we've seen line up at Iowa over the last five years. Daniels is a bruiser, cut from the same cloth that brought us Shonn Greene, Marcus Coker, and Mark Weisman, at 5-11 and 217 lbs, with a listed 40 time of 4.58. Iowa's done well with running backs like that (although it's worth remembering that once upon a time Iowa did just fine with smaller, speedier backs like Fred Russell and Damian Sims, too), which bodes well for Daniels' tenure at Iowa.
Daniels is the first (and so far only) running back to join Iowa's 2013 recruiting class. Recent history suggests that true freshmen running backs will play at Iowa (I think you have to go back to 2006 to find the last time a true freshman running back DIDN'T have a carry for Iowa), although even with Garmon's departure Iowa returns a handful of options at running back in 2013, at least on paper. In addition to Weisman, Damon Bullock and Jordan Canzeri are also slated to come back, as well as Barkley Hill and Michael Malloy, who redshirted in 2012 while recovering from injuries.
It's anyone's guess as to where Daniels will fall in that pecking order; it probably depends on his ability to pick up Iowa's zone blocking scheme and his ability to pick up blitzes in pass protection. Well, it depends on that and whatever array of maladies AIRBHG inflicts upon the other running backs, of course. In short: Daniels will probably see the field in 2013 for Iowa. That's just how it goes. Welcome aboard, LeShun. I hope you survive the Iowa Running Back Experience.
Meanwhile, not all the recruiting news this weekend was so happy; earlier today, word got out that Delano Hill, a Rivals 4* recruit and the highest-rated player of Iowa's 2013 recruiting class was switching his verbal commitment from Iowa to Michigan. Hill had visited Iowa last weekend and (seemingly) re-affirmed his commitment to Iowa, but a visit to Big Blue this weekend apparently changed his mind. There was some hope that the presence of fellow Cass Tech teammates Laron Tayler and Ruben Lile could keep him committed to Iowa, but other Cass Tech teammates are headed to Michigan, so Iowa probably didn't have much of an advantage in that regard.
Hill's departure is another blow to an Iowa football program that's been reeling for the last three months. Like Garmon, it's virtually impossible to know how much this hurts Iowa on an individual level -- we'd seen so little of them as Iowa players (or not at all, in Hill's case) to be able to quantify the impact of their departures on the Iowa program (although Hill projected as a safety, a position where Iowa desperately needs an upgrade in talent, so this loss seems even more painful). But when you look at these departures in aggregate, it becomes apparent that this is another body blow for Iowa. Hill becomes the sixth 4* recruit to leave Iowa over the last three years. Stars aren't everything, but they're not irrelevant, either -- just take a look at the star rating breakdown Pat provided of the 2009 and 2012 Iowa defenses earlier this week. Missing out on or losing guys like Hill or Garmon or Coker or Derby or whoever is how Iowa winds up starting guys like Steve Bigach or Tanner Miller or [insert hard-working but overmatched player of your choosing]... and we've seen what happens in those situations. It's not pretty. Let's hope the bleeding stops soon.