If you follow Iowa football, you know the skillset of Tyler Goodson. Quick, shifty, reliable. But what you haven’t seen is what he is capable of doing as the workhorse in the Iowa backfield…Yet. Goodson, the Hawkeyes’ 5-foot-10 junior running back out of Suwanee, Georgia, has put up impressive numbers during his first two collegiate seasons considering that he wasn’t handling the overwhelming majority of carries. The heavily recruited half-back shared the work his freshman campaign, but still managed to lead Iowa in total rushing production. Goodson split carries with Mekhi Sargent again throughout the Covid-shortened 2020 season. Despite that, he recorded 762 rushing yards on 5.3 yards per carry.
Goodson now becomes one of just two veterans in Iowa’s running back room, along with fellow upperclassman Ivory Kelly-Martin. Goodson’s speed, power, and explosiveness as a ball-carrier, along with his ability as a receiver, make him one of the best playmakers in the entire Big Ten.
Iowa’s reputation for consistent offensive line play tends to make running backs in Kirk Ferentz’s system look better-than-average, but Goodson has an opportunity to elevate the Hawkeye rushing attack to a level it has not seen since 2008 (more to come on that year).
When Iowa’s run game is clicking, it can be nearly impossible to stop. Goodson can become the anchor for the Iowa offense, which should take a degree of pressure off Spencer Petras.
The hype around the reigning First-Team All-Big Ten back is legit. Tyler Goodson was recently named to the Maxwell Award watchlist. He is one of 80 total players, eight of which play in the Big Ten, to be named to the watchlist, which is awarded to the nation’s best all-around college player.
Goodson, however, has his sights set on a different accolade. Following the team’s spring practice finale, he made the following simple, yet ardent statement: “I want to win the Doak Walker award.” Goodson seeks to become the second Hawkeye in program history to be named the nation’s top running back. (And, yes, the other Hawkeye to accomplish that feat was Shonn Greene in 2008.)
If there remained any doubt regarding Goodson’s ceiling for 2021, just turn to his head coach. Kirk Ferentz has raved about the work ethic and professionalism that Goodson displays on a daily basis. “Goodson you know, really, really happy with him, and I include him in that veteran group of guys that have played and played well,” Ferentz stated this past spring. “He’s practiced every day with a great attitude.”
According to Ferentz, Goodson also has a knack for making the players around him better. “He has had a great attitude all through spring,” Ferentz said. “And that sounds mundane, you know. It sounds routine, but you don’t always see that. He has gone out and showed the other guys, ‘This is the tempo you’re supposed to work at.’”
Goodson has already made a solid name for himself at Iowa. This upcoming season, however, he has a chance to gain national recognition. If he continues to improve at the rapid rate he has since he initially arrived on campus, Goodson has an excellent chance to achieve even greater things as a Hawkeye and, potentially, on an NFL roster down the road.
For now, look for Tyler Goodson’s impact in the running game to be the straw that stirs the drink for Iowa during the 2021 season.