CEDAR FALLS — Patience has paid off for Northern Iowa running back Tyler Hoosman.
Throughout fall camp, running backs coach Nick Danielson told Hoosman and UNI’s other running backs there wasn’t a starter and to stick with their process because opportunities would be available.
So, after not playing a snap in the Panthers’ first two games, Hoosman was frustrated but continued to trust his coaches, and was rewarded when a call to head coach Mark Farley’s office came ahead of week 3.
“(Farley) mentioned to me how I might have been overlooked in the evaluating process,” Hoosman said. “He let me know that my opportunity (was) coming. It just kind of brought our relationship a little bit closer honestly.”
Since the meeting with Farley, the Plainfield, Ill., native has averaged 13 carries and 56.8 yards per game while scoring three touchdowns. In last week’s 42-27 win over South Dakota, Hoosman was a bell cow for the Panthers, running for a career-high 111 yards and two touchdowns on 24 attempts.
“(Last game) mostly just boosted my confidence a lot,” Hoosman said. “Knowing that I can (now) see my work being paid off in these games and seeing that my coaches gave that trust in me to have the opportunity, it made me very appreciative.”
Well before persevering through this season’s position battle, Hoosman persevered through a difficult recruiting process that led to him walking on at UNI.
Despite totaling nearly 2,000 all-purpose yards and 30 touchdowns as a high school senior, the offers didn’t roll in from Division-I programs. So, with the self belief that he was good enough to play D-I — and considering his parents are Waterloo natives and his grandmother and uncle still live in town — Hoosman zeroed in on UNI.
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“If you have the right talent, you’re going to end up earning playing time and earning a scholarship and that’s what I ended up getting,” Hoosman said. “I knew what my capabilities were and I always believed that I could prove myself. That’s something I’ve always had to do since I started playing football.”
Now, over halfway through the regular season, Hoosman has established himself as an important fixture in UNI’s backfield and Farley is proud of the sophomore ball-carrier.
“What Tyler Hoosman did is, when he got an opportunity, he made the most of it,” Farley said. “Why you like him is because of the way he comes to practice every day. Whether it was Iowa State (when he) didn’t play, or whether it was this game when he got 100 yards, he’ll be the same today as he was the Monday he came into camp or last Monday. It’s just how he carries himself.”