Now, it's time to take a look at the players that Stanzi will be throwing to during the 2009 season, his group of receivers and tight ends.
Last year, I had Andy Brodell and Derrell Johnson-Koulianos as the primary receiving targets, projecting them to catch 80 passes for roughly 1200 yards and nine touchdowns.
They went out and combined for exactly 80 catches, roughly 1200 yards and seven touchdowns.
I have Stanzi completing 195 passes this year for 2,600 yards, so we'll have to divvy those up.
PLAYER CATCHES YARDS TDS
DJK 50 750 6
Tony Moeaki 40 520 4
Trey Stross 22 250 3
Allen Reisner 20 300 3
Marvin McNutt 20 260 2
Keenan Davis 15 225 1
Colin Sandeman 10 100 0
Paul Chaney 5 75 0
This accounts for all but 120 of Stanzi's projected passing yards for the 2009 season, and all of his touchdown passes, and all but 13 of his completions. Jewell Hampton didn't have a single pass reception last year, where fullbacks Brett Morse and Wade Leppert combined for nine receptions and 62 yards.
DJK caught 44 passes last year, and despite starting the 2009 season in the doghouse, I believe he will ‘see the light' or ‘get with the program'; pick your cliché. He is too talented and has such a magnetic personality to not ‘get it'. He's not a bad kid, perhaps he just had some things go to his head. I don't know, because the coaches didn't spell it out exactly. He has big play ability, and we saw that on numerous occasions last year. He did have one reception that was 59 yards for a score early in the season as Jake Christensen and Rick Stanzi were battling for the job; Stanzi was on the throwing end for that one. I don't see it as a stretch for DJK to catch six more passes this year than he caught all of last season.
Tony Moeaki is another story altogether. If he can have an injury free 2009, which si a bit of a stretch considering his history, he has the physical tools to be the Big Ten's first team tight end. He is an all league caliber blocker, and has been since he stepped onto Iowa's campus. Combine that with 40 receptions, and I would be shocked if he wasn't a first teamer. Last year, Brandon Myers hauled in 34 passes and is not the blocker Moeaki is, and he made one of the league's first team's. Allen Reisner showed great hands last year and a fearless ability to catch passes across the middle. He will probably be playing the same role as a year ago, running the same routes, getting those sweet, delayed deep drag routes across the middle. He had a team best 18.2 yards per catch last season, and his average might be tops again this year. I have 60 receptions coming from the tight ends, when they had 58 one year ago.
Trey Stross and Marvin McNutt are two huge ‘X' factors here. Stross's average might be somewhere at or just south of 10 yards per catch, but he can be Iowa's consistent outlet for first downs. I don't want to call him a possession receiver, because we all know that is code for a less than fleet footed Caucasian. Hey, I am just being blunt with you and if that offends you, then I am guessing you are new to the game of football and its dialect. Stross can run, he can jump, but staying healthy has been his biggest problem.
McNutt was as buzz name coming out of Iowa's spring drills, but he still has work to do at the position. But he is big (6-4/215) and athletic (had mid-major basketball offers, including Southern Illinois) and people have been very high on his early transition to the position. If he breaks out in a big way, it could take away from DJK and Stross' reception totals, but I think we will end up with the same aggregate number.
I also get the feeling that Davis is going to play this year. He has so much natural ability at receiver and brings something to the table that Iowa hasn't had in a while at this position; size and ability in a player that actually played the position in high school. Andy Brodell was a running back, DJK was a quarterback. Stross is listed at 6-3 and 200 pounds, but he might have been 175 soaking wet when he got on campus, although if memory serves, an illness may have played a part in that. Davis was listed at 6-3, 200 pounds on the signing day press release Iowa put out back in February. He will have had some time with some Chris Doyle diet and workout recommendations before he gets to campus and then he will have this summer under the watchful eyes of Doyle. He could also be an ‘X' factor with upside…
Sandeman and Chaney are hard to figure. Chaney didn't catch a ball last year and was in the doghouse for most of the season, but it appears he has worked his way out of that position…only to find the competition for playing time more serious since he last saw the sun. Sandeman may make his name on punt returns and focus on that area as he fights for reps as a third receiver, but that end of the pool is going to be deep.
One thing to also keep in mind; Brandon Wegher is a running back, according to the Iowa staff all winter and spring. However, if he flashes with ability in camp and can't crack the backfield due to the vice lock I expect Hampton and Jeff Brinson to have on that position, he might be able to steal some reps in the slot.