Pugh leaves Iowa football team
Jevon Pugh, shown here scoring the game-winning touchdown in a double-overtime win over Michigan State last season, has left the Iowa football team. He rushed for 40 yards on 17 carries as a true freshman last fall and was listed as a co-starter entering spring practice. (John Schultz/Quad-City Times)

Iowa’s only returning scholarship running back won’t be with the team when it opens the 2008 season Aug. 30 against Maine.

Jevon Pugh, a sophomore from Naples, Fla., who was listed as the Hawkeyes’ co-starter in the backfield, has quit school and left the program, head coach Kirk Ferentz announced Wednesday.

“Jevon has struggled with being away from home since he arrived,” Ferentz said in a statement. “He decided during spring break that he would not be coming back to school. We were sorry to learn of Jevon’s decision, but I understand his feelings and wish him success in the future.”

Pugh, a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder, played in five games as a true freshman last season. He gained 40 yards on 17 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown in a double-overtime win over Michigan State.

His departure, though the topic of much speculation since the end of last season, leaves a significant void where outgoing seniors Albert Young and Damian Sims carried the load last season.

Junior college transfer Nate Guillory, a 5-10, 185-pounder out of Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College, will go through spring drills as the starter, along with walk-on junior Paki O’Meara.

Junior Shonn Greene is expected to return to the Hawkeyes in the fall after a year at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids. Greene, a powerful, 225-pound back, ran for 378 yards and two scores, averaging 5.5 yards a carry, in two seasons before leaving Iowa last June because of academic shortcomings.

The Hawkeyes also signed two running backs who could contribute as true freshmen in the fall.

Jeff Brinson, a 5-11, 215-pounder from St. Petersburg, Fla., piled up 1,985 yards and 24 touchdowns as a senior. Jewel Hampton, a 5-9, 200-pounder from Indianapolis, ran for 2,095 yards and 27 scores last fall.

Eric Page can be contacted at (563) 383-2277 or epage@qctimes.com.

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