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111216-Iowa-029

Manny Rugamba intercepts a ball in front of Michigan receiver Jehu Chesson during Iowa's 2016 win over the Wolverines.

The cornerback with the most starting experience in the Iowa football program is taking his game elsewhere.

Junior Manny Rugamba, listed as a backup to Michael Ojemudia at right cornerback on the Hawkeyes’ most recent depth chart, announced Monday he plans to transfer.

An 11-game starter over his first two seasons with the Hawkeyes, the 5-foot-11, 199-pound native of Naperville, Illinois, made his decision public on Twitter.

“I would like to first thank the whole Iowa coaching staff for the last two years of life lessons both on and off the field,’’ Rugamba wrote. “The relationships I’ve made are some that will last a lifetime. With that being said, I have opened my recruitment and plan to transfer and find another home this fall.’’

Rugamba stepped to the forefront as a freshman, playing in 12 games and making his first career start against in a Michigan game in which he recorded a critical fourth-quarter interception in the Hawkeyes’ 14-13 win.

He went on to start three games that season, finishing with 18 tackles and intercepting two passes.

Rugamba was suspended from Iowa’s season opener in 2017, allowing Ojemudia to make the first of his three starts last season. Rugamba did start eight games as a sophomore, recording 36 tackles, recovering one fumble and breaking up four passes.

But by the end of the season, freshman Matt Hankins moved into the lineup at the cornerback position opposite all-American Josh Jackson for Iowa's final two games.

Ojemudia and Hankins were listed at the top of the depth chart this spring with Rugamba behind Ojemudia at right cornerback and redshirt freshman Trey Creamer listed as the backup behind Hankins on the left side.

Five true freshmen defensive backs joined the program for the start of summer work last month.

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