Iowa football: Top 5 running backs in Kirk Ferentz era

LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 24: Running back Akrum Wadley
LINCOLN, NE - NOVEMBER 24: Running back Akrum Wadley /
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Iowa Hawkeyes, Jordan Canzeri
(Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images) /

Jordan Canzeri survived several injuries in his Iowa football career to become one of the best backs Ferentz has ever had.

The Iowa football team does not go undefeated in 2015 without running back Jordan Canzeri. He overcame so many injuries in his collegiate career, dealing with an ACL tear in March 2012 to foot and ankle injuries in 2015.

After a freshman season in which he played in seven games and had 114 rushing yards, Canzeri figured to be a much bigger part of the Hawkeye offense in 2012. Especially considering the fact that Marcus Coker and Mika’il McCall had both departed the Iowa football program.

Unfortunately, the dream to be the starting running back for the 2012 season came to a crashing halt when Canzeri tore his ACL in late March 2012. He missed that entire season, but came back strong in the 2013 season, rushing for 481 yards on 74 carries to go along with two touchdowns.

It was an encouraging step forward to Canzeri heading into the 2014 season. Unfortunately, Mark Weisman had secured his spot as the starting running back, and Canzeri put up similar stats as the 2013 season.

With Weisman graduating in 2014, Canzeri finally got his chance to shine as the starter in the 2015 season. He would go on to rush for 984 yards on 183 games, playing in all 12 regular season games for the first time in his collegiate career.

Canzeri was an integral part in that undefeated season for the Hawkeyes, capitalized by a 68-yard touchdown run against Nebraska to complete the perfect 12-0 regular season. On a personal note, Canzeri will always be one of my favorite running backs that has ever come through this system primarily because of all that he endured and came out on top.