May Daze: Wide Receivers

During the long May days sans football, HI takes a look ahead at the Hawkeyes, 2012. Up next is wide receiver.

May is notoriously the slowest month for fans of college football. Spring ball is done. Summer workouts haven't begun. Incoming freshmen have yet to arrive.

It's a "May Daze."

There's no sense sitting around and moping about it. You can only perform so much yard work. Let's take a look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, position-by-position, and create some discussion.

Here are the previous installments in this series:

Defensive Backs

Linebackers

D-Line

O-Line

Next up, the Wide Receiver:

  • MOST INDISPENSABLE:
  • Um, Marvin McNutt.

    The former quarterback from St. Louis is poised for a head-turning season. While Iowa fans and the Big Ten followers know of him, he's positioned to become a name on the national landscape.

    McNutt considered jumping to the NFL this offseason, but chose to come back for his senior season. He missed spring drills after minor surgery and was expected to be full go this summer.

    McNutt's value goes beyond physical talent. He's going to need to be a leader for a inexperienced receiver corps and go-to guy for first-year starting quarterback, James Vandenberg.

    I think these roles in which McNutt will flourish. He's a good guy and a good teammate. And he understands this season will go a long way in determining his legacy.

  • TOP BREAKOUT:
  • It better be Keenan Davis. The true junior from Cedar Rapids Washington High steps into the spotlight after two seasons as a seldom-used reserve and return man.

    The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Davis possesses all the physical tools to be a dominating player. He needs to show that he's ready to perform at the tempo needed to succeed on this level.

    Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz touched on it last year. He wanted his talented receiver to play faster, block better and maximize his immense ability.

    While the guys behind Davis are even less experienced than is he, there's talent there. Guys like Kevonte Martin-Manley, Don Shumpert, Jordan Cotton, Marcus Grant and Jacob Hillyer, among others, are waiting for an opportunity.

  • TOP NEWCOMER:
  • Martin-Manley probably would have played last season had Iowa not been as veteran as it was at this position. He started turning heads pretty much as soon as he arrived on campus.

    Martin-Manley de-committed from Bowling Green late in the recruiting process for the Class of 2010. He played at Brother Rice High in Pontiac, Mich.

    While he has decent size (6-0, 190) and respectable speed, his best asset is that he's pretty polished for such a young receiver. He also offers good hands and is no slouch as a blocker.

    When asked about Martin-Manley, Ferentz played it pretty close to the vest. The coach said that his young receiver had a lot of work to do to get on the field.

    While part of that comment can be linked to keeping things in perspective, Martin-Manley will have to show he's capable of doing all the things necessary to play the position. Ferentz isn't afraid to go with a walk-on like Steven Staggs if he's outperforming the scholarship player.

  • THE WILDCARD:
  • I'm going to go with Shumpert here. I also think Grant and Hillyer would be good choices, but I'll lean to the guy who already has spent a season in college.

    Shumpert started out as a defensive back upon his arrival at Iowa. The coaches then took at look at him catching the football and liked what they saw.

    Shumpert, like his prep teammate, Christian Kirksey, is an excellent athlete. He reminds me a bit of McNutt.

    Shumpert likely will need more time learning the position at the college level, but he has a chance to be a nice complimentary piece this season. He has the height at 6-3 and can run.


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