No. 18 -- RB Damon Bullock

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Arrival: Bullock's recruitment was a virtual whisper.

The 6-0, 195-pounder had an excellent season for Class 5A Mansfield (Texas) High School, rushing for 1,606 yards and 22 TDs. But a broken collarbone suffered his junior season killed any momentum for his recruitment. Iowa was his only offer with Tulsa and North Texas showing interest.

“I think it hurt a lot,” Bullock said about his shortened junior season. “Every Division I school I have talked to, like Tulsa, North Texas and Texas Tech, they all wonder why I haven’t had any Division I offers. It’s because of my junior year.”

Iowa offered the day before signing day and Bullock jumped.

“I just want to come in and help as much as I can and do whatever I can to help contribute to the team,” Bullock said. “I think the collarbone slowed down my recruiting a lot. I just want to thank coach [Kirk] Ferentz for giving me the chance.”

2012 Takeoff: Iowa had a crazy stable of running backs in Camp '11. Marcus Coker was the leader, but was slowed by a shoulder injury. This gave true freshman Mika'il McCall a chance to show what he could do. True freshman Jordan Canzeri flashed some skills that got the coaches attention. All systems go, at least in August.

Bullock showed the Iowa coaches something they liked. He ended up switching to wide receiver and being targeted with one of quarterback James Vandenberg's first throws of the season. He dropped it, but still, Bullock went from extremely lightly recruited to the field, a prospect not many saw.

Then, the running backs tumbled down and out. Bullock found himself back at the spot. Bullock never saw consistent carries and fumbled. Bullock was in the Insight Bowl plans, but didn't log a carry. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz acknowledged that they put a lot on his plate changing positions in the middle of the season.

This spring, Bullock was the No. 1. In the spring scrimmage, he carried 14 times for 121 yards, including an 84-yard burst for a TD.

"I am pleased with the progress that Bullock and [De'Andre] Johnson made during spring," Ferentz said. "I think they improved pretty much each and every day and feel a lot better about what they’re doing now and where they’re at."

Bullock and Johnson had bright moments this spring. What sets them apart is build and speed. Bullock showed a second gear with the 84-yard run. Johnson is built like an armadillo, close to the ground, wide base and thick.

In Iowa's offense, the churner often makes a better fit than the burner.

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