IOWA CITY — Toren Young grew up no more than 15 minutes from Camp Randall Stadium, a place the Iowa running back returns on Saturday feeling like he has something to prove.
Young rushed for 5,119 yards during his high school career at Monona Grove, just east of Madison, and while he did visit Wisconsin, he never received a scholarship offer from the Badgers.
Wisconsin wasn’t alone.
Iowa was the only power-five program to offer Young a scholarship, and he now works daily to prove that the Hawkeyes made the right call.
"Throughout the whole recruiting process, I told myself I only needed one," Young said. "It takes one team to believe in you. It was about finding the perfect fit, and for (Wisconsin), maybe I wasn’t the fit for them, and that’s OK.
"I found the spot and I love it here. I fell in love with it when I visited, and I feel like this is the best spot for me."
He’s grown fond of another, somewhat more familiar spot as well — the end zone.
Young reached for the first time in his college career last weekend, carrying the ball on all five plays of a 47-yard drive that ended with his 6-yard carry for the final touchdown in Iowa’s 55-24 rout of third-ranked Ohio State.
"I was pretty excited. It was my first. It had been about a year-and-a-half since the last one in high school," Young said. "It was emotional for me. I almost started crying I was so happy."
In some ways, it validated what the 5-foot-11, 220-pound running back has believed all along.
That score told Young that he belonged.
"I have had people all my life that doubted me and told me I wouldn’t be able to play at the Division I level," Young said. "To be able to go out, play and score my first touchdown, that means a lot to me."
So does Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. game at Wisconsin.
Like his teammates looking to build off the win over the Buckeyes, Young returns home looking to build off of his most productive game as a Hawkeye.
It’s familiar turf for Iowa’s third-leading rusher.
He played at Camp Randall Stadium in a state championship game during his sophomore year of high school, and returning home, Young has heard from a lot family members, friends, former coaches and teammates this week.
Many will be in the stands Saturday, seeing what Young has been believing all along.
"A lot of them joke and say, I hope you play well but I hope the Badgers win," Young said. "Hopefully I can convert a couple of them."
He’s already made a believer out of at least one teammate.
Running back Akrum Wadley believes Saturday’s touchdown was only the first of many Young will score for the Hawkeyes.
"The way he finishes, no question," Wadley said. "I was so happy for him the other day. I’ve been there, waiting my turn. We all have. It’s not easy. He’s going to be a good one, a real good one."
Young plans to keep working, striving to continue moving forward one step at a time as he works in his role behind the Hawkeyes’ two senior running backs, Wadley and James Butler.
"I wasn’t a highly recruited kid. Iowa was one of the only teams that believed in me. It’s not just Wisconsin. I have that chip on my shoulder that there weren’t a lot of teams that wanted me," Young said. "Iowa took a chance on me. My motivation now is to show everybody that they knew what they were doing."