Looking for a fresh start in football and life, Brandon Snyder walked away Tuesday from the Iowa football program he walked onto five seasons ago.
The senior free safety announced plans to enroll at South Dakota State this fall, completing his career as a graduate transfer.
The move comes as Snyder is ready to return to action after working his way back from surgery to repair a second torn anterior cruciate ligament in as many years and as he continues to wrestle with the emotional scars left following his December arrest on charges of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.
The intersection of those elements led Snyder to a decision announced Tuesday morning by coach Kirk Ferentz, who indicated Snyder sought an opportunity to secure as much playing time as possible.
At Iowa, Snyder faced plenty of competition at the safety position created in part by his absence.
He shared the top line on the preseason depth chart at free safety with another senior, Jake Gervase, and faced additional competition from sophomore Geno Stone and junior Amani Hooker at the safety positions.
“Brandon is a fifth-year senior who has earned his undergraduate degree and wants to see as much playing time as possible,’’ Ferentz said in a statement. “We are allowing him to be released, which means he can play for another team immediately.’’
Ferentz said Iowa could not promise Snyder the amount of playing time that he sought.
“We appreciate Brandon’s goal to play his full senior year,’’ Ferentz said. “We wish him the very best and thank him for his grit on the field.’’
Jaden Snyder, Brandon's younger brother, had announced plans to join Iowa as a freshman walk-on this fall but announced Tuesday he will follow his brother to South Dakota State, located a little over one hour from the family's home in northwest Iowa.
Brandon Snyder arrived at Iowa after lettering in five sports as a high school athlete at West Lyon, redshirting as a freshman walk-on in the fall of 2014 before seeing action in 14 games on the Hawkeyes’ Big Ten West Division championship team as a redshirt freshman in 2015.
He started all 13 games as a sophomore in 2016, sharing the team lead with three interceptions and three forced fumbles.
ACL injuries have limited his contributions since to one start.
That came last fall against Illinois when he returned an interception 89 yards for a touchdown but also suffered his latest ACL tear in his left knee, an injury which kept Snyder off the field until resuming offseason work in June.
Snyder completed his undergraduate work at Iowa this week, allowing him to pursue the graduate transfer opportunity with the Missouri Valley Football Conference program which opens its 2018 schedule at Iowa State.
A three-time academic all-Big Ten selection who as a junior was elected by his teammates to the Hawkeye Leadership Council, Snyder is the third player to leave the Iowa program to pursue graduate transfer opportunities in the months since the Hawkeyes’ Pinstripe Bowl win over Boston College.
Quarterbacks Tyler Wiegers and Ryan Boyle have transferred to Eastern Michigan and Indiana State, respectively.