Jewel Hampton found out this summer just how much people care about the Iowa football program. The sophomore running back tallied 463 yards and seven touchdowns a year ago while playing behind Shonn Greene and was penciled in as the starter for this season.

A knee injury during a June workout set off weeks of speculation about whether or not the Indiana native would even play this season. Hampton says he knew of the situation and that was one of the reasons why he came to Iowa. But he says he didn’t expect to get all the questions when he hurt his knee.

Hampton says there were constant inquiries about his health and he even added a few thousand friends to his Facebook page. Hampton says the most bizarre thing was all the people wanting to know how he was doing and a reporter coming to his house.

The good news for Hampton and the Hawkeyes is the knee injury was not serious and he was able to run at full speed when camp opened last week. He says if anyone in his position was told the season could be taken away, that would be heartbreaking, but he says he kept a good head about him.

Hampton says the experienced gained from last year will be a plus during the 09 season. He says last season prepared him for this year and he won’t be "a new fish in the pond" not knowing what is going on. The Hawkeyes open the season at home against UNI on September fifth.