Tyler Goodson, Iowa’s leading rusher in 2021, is off to the NFL and joining the Green Bay Packers as an unrestricted free agent. That means there’s plenty of room in the Hawkeyes’ backfield for someone or multiple players to replace Goodson’s production.
The Suwanee, Ga., native ended the 2021 season with 1,151 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns on 256 carries. Goodson topped the century mark on four occasions last season, rushing for 153 yards against Kent State, 141 yards at Northwestern, 132 yards versus Illinois and 156 yards at Nebraska.
When Goodson elected to opt out of the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Kentucky, it offered an early casting call for the future of Iowa’s backfield. Redshirt sophomore running back Gavin Williams earned his first career start as a result.
In the process, Williams was also the first Iowa running back to make their first start in a bowl game since Jordan Canzeri did so against Oklahoma in the 2011 Insight Bowl. The Dowling Catholic product made a nice case for himself entering 2022 by setting career highs in both rushing yards and carries.
While he was listed atop the depth chart to begin the spring, Williams needs to continue to prove that he can match Goodson’s production and durability after the 2022 season boots off. Here’s a look at Williams’ Hawkeye profile thus far and his depth chart outlook for 2022.
Preseason player profile
Hometown: Altoona, Iowa
Wt: 211 lbs
Class in 2022: Redshirt sophomore
247Sports composite ranking
2020 three-star / No. 30 running back / No. 5 player from Iowa
Depth chart overview
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen
Gavin Williams started in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Kentucky, carrying 16 times for 98 yards. The 6-foot, 211 pound running back also caught a pair of passes for 14 yards against the Wildcats. In the initial spring depth chart reveal, Williams was listed as the Hawkeyes’ No. 1 running back ahead of fellow redshirt sophomore Leshon Williams.
Gavin Williams should have every opportunity through fall camp to emerge as Iowa’s starting running back entering 2022 against South Dakota State. Last season would indicate that he was already ahead of Leshon Williams. Gavin Williams finished as the Hawkeyes’ second-leading rusher with 305 rushing yards on 65 carries. Meanwhile, Leshon Williams rushed just 21 times for 69 yards. Still, Gavin Williams isn’t totally locked in here and there’s room for Leshon Williams to impress throughout fall camp and the first several games of 2022.
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