Nebraska transfer chooses Hawkeyes
By ANDREW LOGUE
Register Staff Writer
Marques Simmons is shifting from one loaded backfield to another.
The former all-state running back for Davenport North has decided to join the Iowa football team, according to Simmons' mother, Diane.
Hawkeye coaches met with Simmons in Iowa City this week after the 5-foot 8-inch, 190-pound sophomore-to-be asked for a release from his scholarship at Nebraska last month.
Diane Simmons said Thursday her son had talked to several schools since leaving the Cornhuskers, but chose to play for Iowa's Kirk Ferentz.
"We looked to Marques. It was his decision," Diane Simmons said from her home in Davenport. "He shared his thoughts and feelings with us, and we went with that."
Marques Simmons, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, spent two years at Nebraska. He told coach Frank Solich he planned to transfer after being listed as the No. 4 back on the depth chart following spring practices.
He will sit out next season before joining the Hawkeyes' active roster in 2004.
Nebraska has a long tradition of talented tailbacks, but Simmons could find the competition for playing time equally fierce at Iowa.
The Hawkeye roster features Fred Russell, who has two years of eligibility remaining after rushing for 1,264 yards last fall; Jermelle Lewis, a talented junior who isn't expected to play next season because of a knee injury; and Albert Young, who was a high school all-American in 2002 after running for 2,180 yards and scoring 32 touchdowns as a senior at Moorestown, N.J.
Simmons' father, Clancy, has said his son wanted to go to a school where he could make an impact."He just feels he wasn't given an opportunity at Nebraska," Clancy Simmons told The Associated Press."Marques has enjoyed his time at Nebraska and really appreciated the people there. But he didn't understand why he was at the bottom of the totem pole."
Simmons rushed for 4,238 yards during his career at Davenport North and was a three-time Drake Relays champion in the boys' 100 meters.
He picked Nebraska over Iowa and Iowa State.
Simmons, who redshirted in 2001, played in five regular-season games for the Cornhuskers as a freshman, gaining 56 yards while averaging 4.3 yards per carry.
In Nebraska's spring game this year, Simmons ran for a game-high 55 yards on eight carries.