Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Iowa's Young Is Growing into His Star Potential; Running Back Finally Healthy and Becoming a Force for the Hawkeyes

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Iowa's Young Is Growing into His Star Potential; Running Back Finally Healthy and Becoming a Force for the Hawkeyes

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL DIROCCO

TAMPA -- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz had an idea of how good running back Albert Young could become -- he just didn't think he'd have to wait this long to find out that he was correct.

Ferentz edged out Wisconsin's Barry Alvarez to sign Young out of Moorestown, N.J., in 2003. That was pretty much the last time Young would be healthy and able to contribute for two years.

Young suffered a broken leg in preseason practices in 2003, then suffered a torn ACL in the second game of the 2004 season. But he has stayed healthy this season, rushing for 1,300 yards and eight touchdowns and ranking fifth nationally in yards per game (118.2).

"We've had high hopes for Albert now for three years," Ferentz said as No. 25 Iowa (7-4) continued preparations for Monday's Outback Bowl against No. 16 Florida (8-3). "Unfortunately he's had back-to-back season-ending injuries the last two years. It's just great for him to be able to play a whole season healthy and go out and enjoy the year."

Young (5 feet 10, 207 pounds) has started all but the first game of the season, and he has gained more than 100 yards in his last seven games, including 202 yards against Northwestern.

He has proven to be a workhorse, too, He had four games with 26 or more carries, including 38 against Northwestern and 30 against Michigan the week before.

"We can give him the ball 30, 40 times a game and he's going to stick it in there and keep doing it and get the job done," Iowa linebacker Abdul Hodge said.

Young has earned a reputation as an unselfish player. In nearly every interview about his success, he deflects praise toward his teammates.

"A lot of it goes to my offensive line," Young told the Iowa City Press-Citizen. "Those guys are making my season what it is. That's why I'm so happy. If those guys aren't doing what they're doing, I'm not got to be as successful. …

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