Hampton announces decision to enter the NFL

    Jewel Hampton earned MVFC Newcomer of the Year honors for his stellar junior season.

    Jewel Hampton earned MVFC Newcomer of the Year honors for his stellar junior season.
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    Jan. 17, 2012

    By John Lock

    CARBONDALE, Ill. - Southern Illinois running back Jewel Hampton announced he has elected to forgo his senior season and enter his name in the 2012 NFL draft.

    "I felt great about the people and the season we had in Carbondale, and the program is going in the right direction," Hampton said. "I put my name in for evaluation and they said I had a good chance of getting drafted between rounds four and seven, so I had to follow my heart. It's hard to leave a place like Carbondale, where I have so many footholds now, but I need to follow my dream."

    Hampton had a banner year in 2011, his only season at SIU, culminating in being named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Newcomer of the Year. Hampton was twice named MVFC Newcomer of the Week and rushed for 100 yards or more six times. He scored 17 touchdowns, which led the conference and finished sixth nationally. Hampton was a second-team All-Conference selection and rushed for 1,121 yards.

    "We fully support Jewel's decision and wish him the very best in his pro career," SIU head coach Dale Lennon said. "He clearly has both the talent and the work ethic to succeed at the next level. Jewel is a fine young man and I look forward to watching him on Sundays."

    Hampton has a nose for the end zone. He scored three touchdowns in his first 12 carries as a Saluki, and he scored on his first collegiate carry as a true freshman at Iowa. Including his time at Iowa, Hampton scored 25 career touchdowns in 26 games. He had nine multi-touchdown games in his career, seven of which came in 2011. He closed his career with four consecutive two-touchdown games. He rushed for seven touchdowns as a true freshman at Iowa in 2008, and Iowa freshman record.

    "The coaching staff was great. I was feeling good about the upcoming season, so it's disappointing that I won't be there for it," Hampton added. "I want to thank Coach Lennon, Coach Crutchley and Coach Steger for being great for me. They'll get the program right. Next year will be a great year for Saluki fans."



    Hampton looks to join three Saluki alumni in the NFL, including two running backs. Brandon Jacobs, who was also named the conference's Newcomer of the Year, holds the New York Giants franchise record for career touchdowns. Deji Karim just finished his second season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, and linebacker Bart Scott finished his 10th year in the league.