Iowa CITY, Iowa - This is the fourth in a series of positional breakdowns as Iowa gets ready for spring football later this month. Today, it's wide receivers:
Roster - Keenan Davis, TR Sr.; Don Shumpert, TR Jr.; Blake Haluska, RS So.; Kevonte Martin-Manley, RS So.; Jordan Cotton RS Jr.; Steven Staggs, RS Sr.; Jacob Hillyer, RS Fr.; Greg Mabin, TR, Fr.: Tevaun Smith, TR Fr.; Cameron Wilson, TR Fr.: George Krieger-Kittle, TR Fr.
Key Losses - Marvin McNutt.
Contenders - Davis, Shumpert, Martin-Manley, Cotton, Staggs, Hillyer, Mabin, Smith, Wilson.
Favorite(s) - Davis, Martin-Manley, Staggs.
Breakdown - McNutt leaves the program holding most of the major records in receiving. Replacing him with one person is unlikely.
A lot of the responsibility for picking up McNutt's slack will fall at the feet of Davis as far as the fans and the media are concerned. That will be one of the main stories at media day this summer.
It's an unfair burden to put on the Cedar Rapids native. Davis can be very, very good if he reaches his potential, but he doesn't have to be McNutt.
Iowa likely will spread the ball around more than it did last season. The post-McNutt transition would be smoother if Martin-Manley keeps improving.
As a freshman last season, Martin-Manley started strong but struggled during much of the conference campaign. He finished his first year with 30 catches for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He played a lot in the slot last year and it will be interesting to see if he's on the outside in '12.
Staggs came out of relative obscurity to push his way into the rotation by the end of the '11. He caught three passes for 36 yards against Michigan State and hauled in a ball during the Insight Bowl. He was rewarded with a scholarship this offseason.
Staggs could have the inside track on playing time this spring and summer with four years already spent in the program. He'll need to hold off a good crop of youngsters.
Cotton is trying to stay healthy for the first time in his career. We're starting to move into now-or-never territory for the Hawkeye legacy.
Shumpert is someone on which to keep an eye. He possesses the most speed in the group of returnees. This will be his third year in the program and it would not be surprising to see things click for him. He could prove valuable in being able to stretch the field.
Hillyer is more in the mold of McNutt. He's a tall, physical receiver who might especially help in the red zone.
At least one of the true freshmen stands a decent chance of getting his feet wet this fall. It's hard to say if that will be Mabin, Smith or Wilson. WIlson probably is the most physically ready to step in, and he also faced the best competition of the trio in high school.
Outlook - This could be a hot spot for the Hawkeyes. The loss of McNutt is huge, and it's a risky assumption to think that Iowa can just fill in the blank.