UPDATE 1/5/17 4:30 p.m. The University of Iowa and running back Akrum Wadley have announced Wadley will return for his senior season this fall. The decision was made today and announced via a press release from the University of Iowa Sports Information Department.

In the release, Wadley says, “It was the right decision for me and my family. I met with my parents and we laid out the pros and cons, and came to the decision that it would be best for me to stay at Iowa for my senior year.  The main three reasons are to earn my degree, to have another year to prepare physically, and to not end my collegiate career on a bad note; we have some unfinished business. I would like to thank coach Ferentz.  We had good conversations and he let me know that he would be there either way, he would have my back.  I also want to express my appreciation for all the support from my teammates, and the great and loyal Iowa fans.”

ORIGINAL STORY 1/3/17:

Dear Akrum,

I get your interest in forgoing your senior season and entering the NFL draft. The money is appealing and the outlook for Iowa football in 2017 looks rough right now. How could you not feel that way after Iowa's abysmal offensive performance in Monday's Outback Bowl? Of course, I'm not talking about you. Your day was incredible once again. 22 carries for 115 yards or 5.2 yards per carry. That follows a 9.5 yard average against Nebraska, 6.3 against Illinois, and 5.0 against Michigan. Never mind you rushed for more than 100 yards in three of Iowa's final four games. Imagine what you could do with a passing game? We'll find one in 2017.

Your entire line returns next year and with a passing game, ANY kind of passing game, the holes will be even bigger. Do people realize that only one time in Iowa's last four games we had more than 100 yards passing? The Michigan game? 66 total receiving yards, 52 of which were yours. Well done, young man. Illinois? We had 80 that day. Nebraska? 144. In the Outback Bowl? 55 total yards passing. That's 345 yards passing in four games. Abysmal. There's that word again. How you guys managed to win three of those four games is a credit to both LeShun Daniels, Jr., and you.

I want to be clear I'm not calling out C.J. Beathard in this letter. I love the guy. He's a gamer and has done incredible things, despite a number of injuries. He was clearly hurt yesterday and far from his best after diving toward the goal line. A winner isn't going to volunteer to come out. However, sometimes coaches have to take a guy out, whether he wants to come out or not. C.J. didn't give us the best chance to win that game in its final 30 minutes. However, I don't blame him for yesterday or the ineptness of the Iowa passing game this season. When one player goes down (Matt VandeBerg), a passing game shouldn't dry up. There's has to be other options that can step in. There has to be more than you, George Kittle, and Riley McCarron.

We need you back, Akrum. Add a few pounds, some experience, and make some additions to your highlight reel. We'll find a new receivers coach, passing game coordinator, offensive coordinator, or all of the above. We have to do something. Iowa has announced they're not raising season ticket prices for next season, and that's a good thing. You guys host defending conference champ Penn State (September 23) and Ohio State (November 4). We better do something or we may be run off our home field twice.

Change is coming, Akrum. It has to. And I can't be the only one who sees it's needed. Now. What's more, I can't bear to think of the 2017 season without you in an Iowa football uniform. PLEASE COME BACK.

[via University of Iowa Sports Information, ESPN, ESPN, ESPN, ESPN]