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Posts Tagged ‘Kevonte Martin-Manley’

Wrapping up the spring

Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Random thoughts and observations from the Hawkeyes’ spring-ending workout Saturday at Kinnick Stadium:

– Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said freshman A.J. Derby and junior John Wienke are “neck and neck’’ for the backup quarterback job, but Derby looked much, much better in Saturday’s workout. He has a stronger arm and seemed to make better decisions. In fact, he probably looked better than starter James Vandenberg.

– Keenan Davis was the clear standout among the receivers but walk-on Steve Staggs looked like he could be a solid possession receiver comparable to Colin Sandeman.

– Three players were back fielding punts during the workout – Keenan Davis, Micah Hyde and freshman Kevonte Martin-Manley. Based on the way he looked on two interception returns for touchdowns last season, Hyde may be the favorite to win the job.

– Hyde was used at free safety this spring on sort of an experimental basis and looked good enough that it seems probable he will stay there in the fall. That sets up a major battle for his old cornerback job between veteran Greg Castillo and upstart B.J. Lowery. Those two had the only interceptions of Saturday’s controlled scrimmage.

– Neither of the two kickers – Mike Meyer or Trent Mossbrucker – looked very good in the work-out, but the cold and the wind weren’t exactly conducive to quality kicking.

– Several linemen – Thomas Nardo, Steve Bigach and Nolan McMillan – disappeared off the depth chart between the start and end of spring drills with very little explanation from the coaching staff. None of them suited up Saturday although all still are listed on the roster. They apparently are either injured or still recovering from winter workouts.

– Senior punter Eric Guthrie looked very erratic Saturday, alternating booming kicks with weak wobblers. Don’t be surprised if Australian-born freshman Jonny Mullings steals the job from him in the fall.

A look at the receivers/tight ends

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Projected starters – Wide receivers Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (6-1, 200, sr.) and Marvin McNutt (6-4, 215, jr.); tight end Allen Reisner (6-3, 248, sr.)

Top reserves – Colin Sandeman (6-1, 200, sr.), Keenan Davis (6-3, 215, so.), Brad Herman (6-5, 247, jr.), Paul Chaney (5-9, 170, sr.), Jordan Cotton (6-1, 185, fr.), Don Nordmann (6-6, 211, sr.)

Futures – C.J. Fiedorowicz (6-7, 250, fr.), Jonathan Gimm (6-3, 240, so.), Dakota Getz (6-4, 230, fr.), Zach Derby (6-3, 235, so.), Austin Vier (6-7, 228, fr.), Kevonte Martin-Manley (6-0, 190, fr.), Don Shumpert (6-3, 185, fr.), James Hurt (6-1, 200, so.), Steven Skaggs (6-3, 195, so.)

Iowa seldom has been as strong and as deep at the wide receiver positions as it is going into this season. Johnson-Koulianos, though listed as a co-starter with Sandeman on the preseason depth chart, is in position to break the school records for receptions and yards in a career. He has had 38, 44 and 45 catches in the first three years of his college career and needs only 31 more to become the all-time record-holder. McNutt probably has an even brighter future. In his first year as a receiver after making the switch from quarterback, he caught 34 passes for 674 yards and eight touchdowns and produced some of the biggest plays of the Hawkeyes’ season. DJK and McNutt combined for 1,424 yards receiving last season and have an excellent shot at topping the best mark ever by a pair of Hawkeye wideouts – 1,649 yards, by Clint Solomon and Ed Hinkel in 2004.

Sandeman is a solid third receiver and excellent punt returner, and Davis may be ready to fulfill his vast promise after a disappointing freshman season. Behind them are Chaney, who is coming off knee surgery, and Cotton, who caught the eye of the coaches with his energy and hustle in spring drills. And don’t be shocked if another receiver makes his presence felt. Martin-Manley appears to have the sort of game-breaking speed that the Hawkeyes have seldom had through the years.

Reisner isn’t the best tight end in Iowa history, but he’ll be a decent replacement for the departed Tony Moeaki. He has caught 25 passes in a reserve role the past two years and is a serviceable blocker. There are several players behind him with possibilities, but perhaps none more so than Fiedorowicz, who arrives rated by some as the top tight end prospect in the country. He has the size and skills to make an immediate impact.

Recruiting reflections

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Random thoughts in the wake of Wednesday’s national signing day:

— Once upon a time, when a high school football player made a verbal commitment to sign with a school, you could take it to the bank. The recruiting was over. The kid was going to that school.

Not any more.

“Decommits” — players who change their mind after committing to a school — are now very common and seemingly increasing with each passing year.

Iowa only had one player decommit this year — Matt Hoch of Harlan, Iowa, changed his mind in December and decided to join his brother at Missouri — but the Hawkeyes picked up three players who once were pledged to other schools: C.J. Fiedorowicz (Illinois), Kevonte Martin-Manley (Bowling Green) and Tanner Miller (Northern Iowa).

— After signing Marcus Coker and D’Andre Johnson on Wednesday, Iowa now has eight running backs on scholarship and all but one of them will be either a freshman or a sophomore next season. And the one who will be a senior (Paki O’Meara) may be the least of the eight.

Even if Brad Rogers and Jeff Brinson end up at some other position (or some other school), it’s still hard to figure out how the Hawkeyes can find enough playing time for Adam Robinson, Brandon Wegher and Jewell Hampton, especially if Coker is the second coming of Shonn Greene, as some believe.

Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz isn’t concerned.

“You know, I hope it becomes a problem,” he said. “I’m trying to think of the last time it was … I can’t remember us having too many good players at any one position. I certainly can’t remember us having too many running backs. My memory is a little bit recent right now. I was just happy this past year to have two in one game.”

— Obviously, big things are expected of Fiedorowicz, Coker, A.J. Derby and Andrew Donnal, the four-star players in Iowa’s recruiting class.

But some of us won’t be shocked if Solon linebacker James Morris ends up being the best player out of this class. And you have to believe there are some other great “sleeper” prospects in this bunch. Carl Davis is a 300-pound defensive tackle who regularly dunks in his high school basket-ball games in Detroit. I can’t wait to see what that guy looks like.

— From my experience, recruits who also have played sports such as basketball and tennis generally have very good footwork that translates well to the football field.

If that’s the case, this is a really good group. I counted 14 players among the 21 in Iowa’s class who play or have played for their high school basketball teams. Fiedorowicz already is his school’s career scoring leader. Brandon Scherff and Austin Vier are among the top rebounders in the state of Iowa right now. B.J. Lowery and Martin-Manley are going to be four-year lettermen at the var-sity level. Tanner Miller and Jim Poggi are in their third varsity season. Derby, who is sitting out this basketball season, helped Iowa City win a Class 4A state title as a sophomore.

Scherff, who is listed at 310 pounds, also lettered in tennis as a freshman in high school.

Recruiting done, just waiting to sign ‘em

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010

With the national signing date now just two weeks away, Iowa recruiting class is holding steady with 19 recruits. There probably will not be any more additions to the class. Coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff are just hoping there won’t be any more subtractions.

One player who was committed to signing with Iowa for 5½ months, Matt Hoch of Harlan, Iowa, changed his mind in late December and is now committed to Missouri, where his older brother is a starting offensive lineman. Hoch admitted he knew he was going to switch even before he made an official visit to Missouri the weekend before Christmas. He said he really wanted to play tight end and the Hawkeyes planned to use him in the defensive line.

On the same day Hoch switched to Missouri, the Hawks got another commitment from wide receiver/kick returner Kevonte Martin-Manley of Brother Rice High School in suburban Detroit. Martin-Manley, from the same high school that produced former Iowa basketball star B.J. Armstrong, had been thought to be headed for Bowling Green. He supposedly is an exceptional punt returner.

The current Iowa class is rated No. 37 in the country and No. 5 in the Big Ten by Rivals.com. Penn State is No. 9 nationally with Michigan 19th, Ohio State 22nd and Michigan State 29th.