Iowa running back De'Andre Johnson had two minor encounters with police last week that seemed to illustrate poor judgment, but not necessarily major offenses. Yet it was apparently enough for Johnson to get a one-way ticket out of Iowa City.
Head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Wednesday afternoon that the sophomore has been dismissed from the team. This comes after Johnson was A) ticketed for maintaining a disorderly house on Thursday -- a charge Ferentz initially laughed off during Big Ten media days -- and then, in his best Cincinnati Bengal impression, B) got in trouble again Saturday when he allegedly sped his motorcyle through a 25 mph zone and failed to pull over right away for cops. (The lessons here, as always: don't speed, and maintain an orderly house!)
Taken alone, neither amounts to much. Put together, they still don't seem to rise to the level of dismissal. Yet we don't know what other things were going on behind the scenes with Johnson, and Ferentz obviously felt he had seen enough.
Johnson probably wasn't going to be a star at Iowa, but he at least had some experience running the ball for a varsity college team, which is more than just about any other current Hawkeye can say. Meet your new leading returning, healthy ball carrier, Iowa fans: Jason White, who had a whopping seven carries for 32 yards in 2011 (just edging out Damon Bullock, who had 10 attempts for 20 yards last year).
Now, Ferentz has those two guys and incoming freshmen Barkley Hill and Greg Garmon -- and maybe sophomore Jordan Canzeri if he makes a miracle recovery from his torn ACL. There are also rumors that Penn State signee Akeel Lynch is thinking about transferring to the Hawkeyes. Of course, such a development would constitute good news at the running back position for Iowa, so we should be immediately skeptical.
It's overkill at this point to rehash all the problems that Iowa's tailbacks have endured. But let's also point out that it has not been a very good offseason for Big Ten running backs in general.
There was the awful news about Montee Ball today. Michigan's Fitz Toussaint got busted for DUI and was then suspended. Silas Redd left Penn State for USC. Johnson got kicked off Iowa, and Garmon's fate was shaky when he was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. Ohio State's Jordan Hall hurt his foot and could miss the start of the season, while Bri'onte Dunn made headlines with a traffic stop. Purdue's Ralph Bolden got arrested for allegedly forcing a kiss on a woman at a bar.
Geez. Can we start practicing already?