IOWA CITY, Ia. - One of the great water cooler topics for Hawkeye football fans is debating the best players or best position units throughout program history. The great thing is that each year there's potential for a new candidate to enter the mix.
If you're looking for an area on the field that could jump into the discussion in 2010, take a look at wide receiver. It's a strong group with a high ceiling.
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos already ranks among Iowa's career leaders in receiving yards (1,808) and receptions (123), putting him at 11th and 8th, respectively, in those categories. Tim Dwight (2,271) holds the school mark for yards. Kevin Kasper owns the standard for catches (157).
Joining Johnson-Koulianos in the corps are experienced talent in Marvin McNutt, Colin Sandeman, Paul Chaney and Keenan Davis. Jordan Cotton has a redshirt under his belt after coming in last season with exciting expectations.
Let's take a look at an impressive group in Hawkeye Insider's next installment of the Sneak Peek series:
Derrell Johnson-Koulianos, RS Senior - DJK serves as one of the most active lightning rods in the Kirk Ferentz Era. People want to know what's up with the dynamic athlete from Ohio.
While he's had some missteps, Johnson-Koulianos performs when he's on the field as referenced in our opening. He's a winner, which makes me believe he will rise up as a senior and lead this team on and off of the field.
Colin Sandeman, TR Senior – The senior-to-be from the Quad Cities does such a sensational job as a punt returner that his receiving skills get overlooked. Trust me, he's a good one and could be an important weapon in ‘10.
Sandeman suffered an injury in training camp last August and it seemed like it took him a lot of the year to catch up. He played in only nine games, starting two. He finished with 10 catches for 83 yards.
Keenan Davis, TR Sophomore – The Cedar Rapids native got his feet wet last season with spot duty at receiver and a taste of special teams. He caught four balls for 55 yards and a touchdown.
This kid certainly has the pedigree to jump up and take some reps from veterans like Sandeman and Chaney, but he'll have to earn it. He'll take his next step in being groomed to take over for DJK in '11.
Marvin McNutt, RS Junior - I'll admit it. I wondered if McNutt would be successful in his switch from quarterback to receiver last year. I kept having visions of Eric McCollom and Jason Manson – good football players, good guys, who struggled with that move.
Then, McNutt tore it up – 30 catches for 653 yards and a team-best seven touchdowns. He averaged 21.8 yards per reception and flashed breakaway speed in the open field.
Paul Chaney Jr., RS Senior - Chaney settled into a nice role as a slot guy before tearing his ACL in game six. The speedy senior-to-be threatened defenses with the reverse and hauled in seven passes for 50 yards.
Chaney will have a role in this offense and it will be an important one. His speed can change a game.
Jordan Cotton, RS Freshman - From what I've heard, Cotton did a nice job developing during his redshirt year. That was good news as the Hawkeyes need the youngster to continue that progress this season with three players on this depth chart departing after '10.
Cotton was called a running back at Mount Pleasant (Iowa) High School but spent plenty of time running routes and splitting out.
Other names to watch
-Don Nordmann – Walk-on is a big target at 6-6; traveled to some games last season.
-Jo Jo Pregont – Walk-on from Wisconsin is one the coaches like; could use more Doyle time.
-Ben Evans – Walk-on from Iowa City has seen reps in his career.
-Steven Staggs – Walk-on from Oskaloosa moves into third season with program.
-Kyle Steinbrecher – Quad Cities walk-on becomes an upperclassman this fall.
Kevonte Martin-Manley – Incoming freshman owns some nice high school highlight tape.