Iowa running back Tyler Goodson declares for NFL Draft, opts out of Citrus Bowl

Goodson, a junior, led the Hawkeyes in rushing each of the last three seasons.


Grace Smith

Iowa running back Tyler Goodson carries the ball during a football game between No. 17 Iowa and Illinois at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021. Goodson had 27 carries on the day averaging 4.9 yards per carry. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 33-23 at the last home game of the season.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Iowa running back Tyler Goodson has declared for the 2022 NFL Draft and opted out of playing in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1, the junior announced on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

“First and foremost, I want to thank God for the blessings he has bestowed upon me and my family,” Goodson said in a statement released on Twitter. “Coming to Iowa was one of the best decisions of my life and I have enjoyed every moment as a Hawkeye. Thank you to the entire coaching staff for the guidance during my time at Iowa. You guys have pushed me to my limits and I’m grateful for everything you’ve done for me. To my teammates, thank you for all the memories on and off the field. I consider all of you brothers, and will forever cherish the times we’ve shared.

“With that being said, I have decided to forgo playing in the Bowl Game to begin preparation for the 2022 NFL Draft. Similar to a lot of young kids growing up, I have always dreamed of the opportunity to play in the National Football League and I am beyond grateful that the time is quickly approaching. I will forever consider myself a Hawkeye and look forward to making my family, friends, and Hawkeye Nation proud at the next level.”

Goodson led Iowa in rushing yards in each of the past three seasons. The former three-star recruit out of Suwanee, Georgia, became the first freshman to ever lead the Hawkeyes in rushing with his 638 yards on the ground in 2019. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder took the starting job in Iowa’s backfield late in his first season as a Hawkeye. The past two years, Goodson has been Iowa’s featured running back.

As a sophomore, Goodson was named first-team All-Big Ten. Goodson followed that up with a third-team All-Big Ten season in 2021. As a junior, Goodson ran for 1,151 yards (the 10th most in a single season in Iowa history) and six touchdown. Goodson is 10th in program history with 2,551 yards on the ground.

RELATED: From Suwanee to Iowa City: Tyler Goodson’s path to becoming Iowa’s All-Big Ten running back

“Tyler has been a valuable member of our program throughout his career, and we wish him nothing but success as he pursues his next phase in life and football,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said in a release. “Tyler enjoys the game of football. His passion and energy are evident on a daily basis, and we are appreciative of his many contributions to our program. It has been a pleasure having Tyler and his family as part of our program.”

Goodson becomes the second Iowa player to opt out of playing in a bowl game in 23 years under Ferentz, joining former Hawkeye tight end Noah Fant, who was selected with the 20th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. In May, ESPN NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Tyler as the No. 4 best draft-eligible running back in the 2022 draft class.

No. 15 Iowa faces No. 22 Kentucky in the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1. Even with Goodson, Iowa’s offense ranked 123rd nationally this season, and is now down its leading rusher heading into a postseason matchup.

The only running backs currently left on Iowa’s roster are senior Ivory Kelly-Martin, redshirt freshmen Gavin Williams and Leshon Williams, and true freshman Deavin Hilson.

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