Depth at Wide Receiver Could Be an Advantage for Iowa Hawkeyes in 2010

B.Senior Analyst IJuly 20, 2010

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 05:  Keenan Davis #6 of the Iowa Hawkeyes celebrates after Iowa won 24-14 against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It’s possible that Iowa’s depth at wide receiver is being overlooked by some of college football’s analysts.

Much of the talk this offseason has been focused on the stellar defensive line that returns for the Hawkeyes or the inexperienced offensive line that leaves several unanswered questions. The running back situation has also been a hot topic.

With attention diverted elsewhere, Iowa’s depth at wide receiver isn't getting the respect it deserves.

Heading into his senior season, wideout Derrell Johnson-Koulianos is just the third player in Iowa history to lead the team in receiving for three straight seasons. He could become the only receiver in school history to lead the team for four years straight. 

Johnson-Koulianos already ranks seventh all-time at Iowa in career receptions and receiving yards. Barring a serious injury or an egregious Facebook violation, he should break Kevin Kasper's school record for total career receptions (157) and Tim Dwight's record for total career receiving yards (2,271).

Behind Johnson-Koulianos on the depth chart is senior Colin Sandeman. Sandeman's specialty is punt returns, but he can be dangerous at receiver as well.  

Last year he had 14 receptions for 136 yards and a score. In 2008, he had six catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns.

Junior receiver Marvin McNutt is the other starting wide receiver for the Hawkeyes.

McNutt should be one of the top receivers in the Big Ten this season. In 2009, he caught 34 passes for 674 yards and eight touchdowns in his first full year as a receiver, something he could easily surpass.

Behind McNutt on the depth chart is true sophomore Keenan Davis. Wide receiver coach Erik Campbell has suggested that Davis could be one of the most talented receivers he has seen during his coaching career.  

Considering that Campbell spent 13 seasons at Michigan coaching the likes of Amani Toomer, Steve Breaston, and Braylon Edwards, it’s beyond safe to say his opinion of Davis is accurate. With McNutt and DJK being the main focus for defensive backfields this fall, Davis could have a breakout year.

The depth at receiver doesn’t stop at Davis and Sandeman, either. Paul Chaney Jr., Don Nordmann and Jordan Cotton will all be ready on the sidelines when offensive coordinator Ken O'Keefe calls their number for action.

Both Chaney and Nordmann saw playing time last year. Cotton is a redshirt freshman loaded with skills.

The Des Moines Register suggests that the 2010 receiving corp could be the best since Iowa's 1985 Big Ten Championship season.

"In 1985, Heisman runner-up Chuck Long directed an offense that included six targets who would finish their college career’s with at least 1,000 receiving yards," writes Andrew Logue. “That includes running back Ronnie Harmon’s 2,045 yards.”

Depth at wide receiver is a great insurance policy for the Hawkeyes to have.