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,
Iowa Hawkeyes, /

Ladell Betts was a Hayden Fry recruit but had the majority of his success in the early years of the Kirk Ferentz era.

Ladell Betts was one of the most productive backs for the Iowa football team and arguably had the most successful professional career as well. He redshirted his true freshman year at Iowa. In the 1998 season, Betts set school records for most rushing yards in a game and in a single season as a redshirt freshman.

He played in all 11 games that season and carried the ball 188 times for 679 yards with five touchdowns. Despite his physical stature at 5′-11″ and 224 pounds, Betts was a huge receiving threat out of the backfield hauling in 20 receptions for 259 yards in 1998.

Betts was the model for consistency during his tenure at Iowa. In 1999, he played in all 11 games again and carried the ball 189 times for 857 yards with five touchdowns. He also repeated his 1998 reception total with 20 for 195 yards.

Flash forward to 2000 and 2001, he accumulated 2,150 yards on 455 carries with 15 touchdowns. Betts entered the NFL draft following the 2001 season and was selected 56th overall in the second round by the Washington Redskins.

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He would go on to play eight seasons for the Redskins, rushing for more than 3,300 yards on 821 carries and 15 touchdowns. His receiving skillset translated over the NFL as well hauling in 165 balls for over 1,500 yards.