In case you were wondering, LeShun Daniels has been found alive and well and hanging out at the Hayden Fry Football Complex.
Daniels, the much-heralded freshman running back from Warren, Ohio, has been M.I.A. most of the season. Glimpses of him have been rumored on the football field, with sightings being reported during Iowa victories over Missouri State and Western Michigan. The inquiries about his status and whereabouts began before the season and have continued each week, but no one has been able to pin him down. Sure, No. 29 in black and gold has rushed for 84 yards on the season, but only a select few know who’s really under that helmet.
Which begs the question: If LeShun Daniels talks and there is no one there to hear him, did he really talk?
Daniels and the Hawkeyes travel to Minnesota Saturday to start Big 10 Conference play. But he did talk to university officials after practice on Wednesday and spoke about finally getting to fulfill a lifelong goal.
“It will be a fun experience,” Daniels said. “This is something I have been waiting for my entire life. I always wanted to play college football, especially at a level like this.”
Daniels has been pushing for more and more playing time as the season progresses. Iowa plays four running backs in different situations. Mark Weisman is the north-south, bruising runner; Damon Bullock can run inside and out with authority, and Jordan Canzeri is the smaller, change of pace runner who hits a hole quickly. But Daniels is the guy who combines size, speed, power and elusiveness in one package. Hawkeye fans have been waiting patiently for him to emerge, but Daniels said his development will just have to run its course naturally.
“It’s great to be around them because they have experienced everything,” Daniels said of his fellow running backs. “They have been through a lot of stuff and they help me so I can catch up to speed.”
That speed is something Hawkeyes fans have been waiting for and can’t come quickly enough.