Iowa football is back. The Hawkeyes are in camp, and the season quickly is approaching. Land of 10 is here to keep you informed and get you prepared for the season. In August, we are breaking down position groups. Up first, the wide receivers.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Land of 10 is projecting what the Iowa depth chart will be for the season opener. This isn’t what the depth chart looks like now or what it will look like before playing Wyoming on Sept. 2.
Instead, it’s our prediction on how the Hawkeyes will use and employ their players at each position.
1 — Matt VandeBerg, senior, and Nick Easley, junior
2 — Devonte Young, sophomore, and Brandon Smith, freshman
1 — VandeBerg, Easley and Young
2 — Ihmir Smith-Marsette, freshman, Adrian Falconer, senior, and Smith
The king: Matt VandeBerg
VandeBerg is the top returning receiver for the Hawkeyes. Honestly, he is the entire list. He is the only returning scholarship wideout with a career reception.
Iowa is young and inexperienced at the position, but VandeBerg brings everything else the rest of the receiving room lacks. He is an accomplished player, earning honorable mention All-Big Ten in 2015. He is a leader and commands respect in the locker room.
VandeBerg played like a No. 1 wide receiver before breaking his left foot on Sept. 26 last season. He will make plays at receiver. How many of his position mates will follow his lead?
The wild card: Devonte Young
Iowa likes VandeBerg and knows Easley will contribute. Beyond that, the rest of the position group is a question mark. Young played as a freshman last season to help prepare him for a bigger role this season.
He showed his playmaking ability with 2 touchdowns during an open practice on Saturday. The ability is there. He could end up playing a key part in the aerial attack or get passed by the newcomers. Iowa needs to find as many playmakers as it can at receiver. Young emerging into a capable wideout significantly would help Iowa.
The newcomer: Brandon Smith
The kid already looks the part at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. His hands are huge, and he is the kind of big-bodied receiver capable of making plays downfield the Hawkeyes like.
He already is impressing coaches in camp. Can he carry it over to the season? He has the potential to be a future star. If he puts everything together quickly, he could provide a much-needed boost to the passing game.