Getting to know “The Duck”

By Chris Williams, Publisher

Right now, we’re 2-for-4 on animal nicknames for Cyclone running backs.

Iowa State’s competition at running back has been intense this spring. This arsenal consists of Jeff Woody, James White, a rabbit (Shontrelle Johnson) and the man they call “duck.”

“Duck” is Duran Hollis, a 5-foot-9, 203-pound redshirt freshman who ran for 1,217 yards and 14 touchdowns as a senior at Polytechnic (Fort Worth, Tex.).

If you walk around Iowa State’s Jacobson Athletic Building, don’t even bother looking for Duran. The good folks there won’t know who you are talking about. Duran is "duck." That’s what people call him. That’s what he answers to.

“A lot of people say that I do walk like a duck but that’s not where I got the name,” Hollis explained. “I got the name when I was little because I look like a duck. That’s where the name comes from. It has been with me ever since I was little.”


Hollis can do more than just look like a duck. He’s an incredible athlete (Hollis had division one basketball offers too) who Paul Rhoads believes will have a bright future in Ames. Here’s a Q&A of the highlighting the rest of my conversation with Hollis on Thursday.

CF: Are you a little hungry after redshirting last season?

DH:My redshirt year gave me a chance to develop as a running back. I got stronger and faster so that I can be prepared for spring ball and to go out there and compete for a job.

Do you feel like a different guy after taking that year off?

DH: I feel a lot faster and stronger.

What has the competition been like at running back?

DH: It has been great. We’re all working really hard. We all have different styles at running back. It isn’t all just one style.

How would you describe your style?

DH: I would describe myself as a one-cut back. I see the hole, make one cut and get up the field.

Compare yourself to Shontrelle. What makes you two different?

DH:He has a lot of moves in his hat. I don’t have as many moves as him. I’m a one-cut guy. I get up the field.

You and Shontrelle obviously came in together and Coach Pope has talked a lot about using two backs in the future. Would that be cool for you two to split some time together?

DH:We love being back there together. We talk about it every day. We’d love to be back there together. It would be a great opportunity to be back there with Shontrelle.