Ongoing injury issues have ended the promising football career of Iowa wide receiver Jay Scheel.
Two days before the Hawkeyes are scheduled to begin offseason training, the junior announced Sunday on Instagram that he has played his last football game.
“Sad to announce that I will no longer be playing the game that has taught me so much about myself and life,’’ Scheel wrote.
“After previously having two operations done on each knee and now finding another problem, I’ve decided to stop playing. This was the most difficult decision in my life up to this point, but it’s what’s best for my health.’’
A two-time Iowa all-state selection for Union High School in LaPorte City, the top-rated player in Iowa’s 2014 recruiting class underwent his first knee surgery before redshirting as a freshman at Iowa that year.
Injuries limited him to two games during the first half of the Hawkeyes’ 12-0 run through the regular season in 2015 and after challenging for a starting role last fall, injuries again limited his productivity.
Scheel did see action in 12 games for the Hawkeyes during their recently completed 8-5 season, recording his first career reception for a 12-yard gain in a win over Iowa State and making his first career start in Iowa’s 40-10 win over Nebraska in the regular-season finale.
For the year, Scheel recorded five receptions for 56 yards, including a pair of catches for a career-best 26 yards in a game against Northwestern.
Listed as a backup to Matt VandeBerg at one receiver spot on the 2017 preseason depth chart released earlier this month, Scheel went on in his announcement to thank family, friends, coaches and teammates for their support over the years.
“I wish my last season playing football hadn’t gone the way it did, but there’s more to life that statistics,’’ Scheel wrote. “I wish nothing but the best for my teammates this offseason and next season. Hawkeye football will forever have a special place in my heart.’’
Scheel’s decision leaves Iowa even more shorthanded than it already was at the receiver spot as the Hawkeyes search for answers in the passing game. Iowa averaged 153.2 yards per game through the air last season, the program’s lowest total since 1981.
The Hawkeyes currently have verbal commitments from two receivers in the 2017 recruiting class, Max Cooper of Waukesha, Wisconsin, and Brandon Smith of Lake Cormorant, Mississippi.