For the second year in a row, Iowa announced its leading rusher would not return to the program despite retaining eligibility. They didn't leave for the NFL.
Marcus Coker will follow in the footsteps of Adam Robinson and transfer out of Iowa. Both were suspended from their respective bowl games the last two seasons.
On Coker, a University of Iowa release announced Tuesday: That sophomore running back Marcus Coker has withdrawn his application to enroll in spring semester classes. Coker also asked for a release from his football scholarship and that request has been granted.
Coker spoke about his exit on Facebook Tuesday night:
Welp so much for that. It was a good 2 years iowa..best 2 I could of asked for. Thanks again for the support. I really wish I could tell u guys wats goin on cuz its really ridiculous to b punished for somethin I didnt do. Id like to think the coaches and athletic staff for everything. Hawk for life
Iowa announced on Dec. 20 that Coker would be suspended from the Insight Bowl for violating the school's policies and the UI Student-Athlete Code of Conduct.
The Iowa City Press-Citizen published a story
Tuesday citing records that Coker was involved in an assault investigation.
“It is unfortunate that Marcus Coker will not be with the team for our bowl game,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said in a release at that time. “During the next 10 days, we will focus and continue to prepare the players that are able to participate.”
Iowa AD Gary Barta said during the Insight Bowl week in Arizona that the door was open for Coker's return. He said the same about fellow suspended running back Mika'il McCall, who announced earlier this month that he was leaving the Hawkeyes program.
Coker was the second-leading rusher in the Big Ten with 1,384 yards, fourth on Iowa’s all-time season list. He scored 15 touchdowns. He was the offensive MVP of Iowa’s victory over Missouri in the '10 Insight Bowl, gaining 219 yards with two scores in place of Robinson, who was suspended for a violation of team rules.
Coker has not had public comment on his suspension. He did post something on his Facebook page on Dec. 6:
Everything happens for a reason..cant tell people i did something when i didnt. So hints y i never answered those questions. Anyway thanks everyone for the support especially hawknation and fam. Go hawks..hawk for life
On the same day, his mother, Tammy Money, posted on her Facebook page: I want to Thank everyone for all your support of my family! You guys are great and we love each and everyone of you! by the way GO HAWKS!
The Hawkeyes have seen an unusual amount of recent attrition at running back. In addition to Coker, McCall and Robinson, Jewel Hampton and Brandon Wegher also have left Iowa since December of 2010. All were on scholarship and thought to be among the top players at the position when they exited Iowa City.
Ferentz was attending the national coach's convention on Tuesday. He did not provide a comment in the university release.