Toren Young attended Monona Grove High School, which is eight miles away from Camp Randall Stadium or also known as the home of the Wisconsin Badgers. Most kids want to play for their in-state school growing up and Young was no exception.
“I watched a good amount of Badger games as a kid,” Young said on Tuesday. “I grew up not too far from campus and watching the Badgers and being around it. It’s something that is exciting for me to be at this level and be competing and getting an opportunity to play against them.”
He visited Wisconsin for the first time on April 1, 2014, and camped with the Badgers that summer. He made a return visit to Wisconsin in October of 2014 but hadn’t yet been offered. Young visited Iowa for the first time in November of 2014. Two months later, the Hawkeyes offered him. Young accepted that offer the next morning.
It’s unclear if Wisconsin or anyone else offered him, but there was a lot of Big Ten interest in young. His senior year he finished with 2,779 yards and 28 touchdowns on 333 carries as a senior. He was a Blue-Grey All-American his senior year and stayed faithful to the Hawkeyes throughout the whole recruiting process.
Young played late in the game against Wisconsin last year. He finished with three carries and 11 yards. He mentioned how cool it was to be able to go out there and play on that field. This is a week where he’ll receive some messages from friends, teachers, and acquaintances back home.
“Some of them tell me that they are rooting for me,” Young said. “But they hope for a different outcome than I want. You know it’s alright, it’s okay, I respect it.”
Young has been a staple for the Hawkeye running back room especially since Ivory Kelly-Martin has been out the last two weeks with an injury. Young has averaged over 5.4 yards per carry and two touchdowns on 43 rushes
He played sparingly for the Hawkeyes as a freshman last year and finished with 193 yards and two touchdowns on 45 rushes. A lot of people were excited to see the brand new Hawkeye running back duo in Kelly-Martin and Young.
But that mood changed once the Hawkeyes made the surprising signing of JUCO All-American Mekhi Sargent. Few people had seen Sargent play, but they had heard he was performing well in Summer workouts and Fall Camp. At that point, many people felt that Young and Sargent were the same type of running back. This led to the assumption that Young may be the odd one out of the group.
He doesn’t show frustration and that’s a testament to the man he is. Young is the type of leader that will remain even-keeled and focused on the task at hand. He is the only sophomore on the Hawkeye Leadership group and it doesn’t take long to realize why he’s in that prestigious group. The two things that are most important to him are working as a team and collecting wins.
People can take a look at how many teams were interested in him but didn’t extend an offer. There will be some that will continue to write off Young. But every yard he gains is a reminder that he’s here to stay and lead the young Hawkeye running back room.