Goodson named DI Newcomer of the Year

Tyler Goodson gave the Hawkeye offense a boost last season, and he won the DI’s Newcomer of the Year honor for his efforts.


Katina Zentz

Iowa running back Tyler Goodson scores the first touchdown of the game against Illinois on Saturday, November 23, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 19-10. Goodson rushed a total of 38 yards.

Pete Ruden, Pregame Editor

Tyler Goodson didn’t need a lot of time to prove he belonged in the Big Ten.

In just the second game — and first Big Ten game — of his career, the true freshman ran for 53 yards on 10 carries. But that was only a small glimpse of what he could do.

Two weeks later against Middle Tennessee State, Goodson recorded 12 rushes for 97 yards, his second-highest total of the season.

When he hauled in five passes for 62 yards against Michigan and gave the Hawkeye offense a much-needed boost in the second half against Northwestern, it showed the coaching staff trusted him.

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“With every good play that a player has, our confidence in them grows, and then we get to see what they’re doing in the classroom, on the field and practice field, and all those kinds of things,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said in his weekly press conference after the Northwestern game. “He’s done nothing but just keep putting positive credits in the bank, so we’re certainly gaining confidence in him.”

Those performances propelled Goodson to the top of Iowa’s depth chart ahead of the Hawkeyes’ matchup against a top-10 Minnesota squad in Kinnick Stadium.

The challenge didn’t faze the Suwanee, Georgia, native. He ran for 94 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries in his first start.

“I was speechless when [running backs coach Derrick Foster] first told me [I was starting],” Goodson said in a release. “For me, I didn’t focus on the fact I was starting, but focused on the next play and tried to make an impact that would help our team win the game.”

That showing sparked a four-game touchdown streak that was capped by a score in Iowa’s 49-24 victory over USC in the Holiday Bowl.

Goodson also ran for a career-high 116 yards against Nebraska while finding the end zone again in the regular-season finale.

Former Iowa running back LeShun Daniels compared Goodson to former Hawkeye standout and big-play threat Akrum Wadley. With three more years to develop, it’s difficult to pinpoint what Goodson will become.

“I gave him the nickname, I call him the human joystick because, man, he’s like you’re playing PlayStation or something,” Iowa wide receiver Brandon Smith said after the Middle Tennessee State game. “So, you press circle, he’ll spin. When you press triangle, he’s jumping over somebody. He’s one of our electric players. He’s crazy.”

In one season, Goodson rose to the top of a crowded depth chart and established himself as a threat on the ground for years to come.

This time around, he’ll have a full season as the starter.

With a new quarterback leading the way on offense, it will be important for the Hawkeyes to have a ground game they can count on. Goodson provides that.

Add Mekhi Sargent and Ivory Kelly-Martin into the mix to supplement Goodson, and the backfield gets even stronger.

If things go well for Goodson when he’s not a newcomer next season, he could be looking toward a promotion to Male Athlete of the Year.