Ex-Hawkeye Jewel Hampton makes himself NFL draft-eligible

After good year at Southern Illinois, off he goes

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Jewel Hampton found life after Iowa at Southern Illinois, and now he's leaving the Salukis behind as a fourth-year junior to try and make it in the NFL.

Hampton had a very nice year at SIU in 2011 after he left the Iowa program late in 2010. He rushed 220 times for 1,121 yards, an average of 4.9 yards per carry. He also had 19 receptions for 163 yards. He was named the Missouri Valley Conference's Newcomer of the Year. He had six 100-yard games.

Hampton was a player of great promise at Iowa, but a torn ACL in his right knee kept him from playing in 2009, and a torn ACL in his left knee in 2010 stopped his season in September. As Shonn Greene's primary backup in 2008, Hampton rushed for 463 yards and seven touchdowns, and ran for 114 yards and three touchdowns against Indiana that season.

But for reasons never specified publicly, he and the Iowa program parted ways a little over a year ago.

"Iowa was a great place, I had a lot of good times," Hampton told The Gazette. "But I guess I was just not fully happy there."

The decision for him to go, he said, was "kind of mutual."

Hampton was suspended for the 2010 season-opener because of a summer alcohol-related arrest.

Had all gone well for him at Iowa, he might have been heading into his senior season with the Hawkeyes. Who am I kidding? A senior running back at Iowa?

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