A closer look: Iowa special teams

Hawkeye specialists will have that new car smell in 2016

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns a kickoff for 58 yards against Minnesota in a NCAA football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)
Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Desmond King (14) returns a kickoff for 58 yards against Minnesota in a NCAA football game at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015. (Adam Wesley/The Gazette)


K — 1a. Miguel Recinos, so., 6-1, 190; 1b. Mick Ellis, so., 5-10, 190; 3. Keith Duncan, fr., 5-11, 165; 4. Caleb Shudak, fr., 5-8, 175; 5. Josh Proehl, #fr., 5-9, 180

P — 1a. Ron Coluzzi, sr., 5-11, 182; 1b. Colten Rastetter, #fr., 6-2, 205; 3. Ben Canby, #fr., 6-1, 210; 4. Jackson Terry, fr., 5-11, 184

LS — 1. Tyler Kluver, jr., 6-0, 220; 2. Jackson Subbert, #fr., 6-3, 232; 3. Austin Spiewak, fr., 6-2, 225

KR — 1a. CB Desmond King, sr., 5-11, 203; 1b. WR Riley McCarron, sr., 5-9, 186; 3a. RB Akrum Wadley, jr., 5-11, 191; 3b. WR Matt VandeBerg, sr., 6-1, 190


Iowa kicker and punter right now is all about the finding the first dude in. Desmond King should resume his return duties. He finished second in the Big Ten with 14.18 yards a punt return and was fourth in kick returns at 24.41 yards.

Junior long snapper Tyler Kluver isn’t going anywhere. He’ll be in his third season as a starter and was put on scholarship this summer.

Let’s look at kicker.

Miguel Recinos and Mick Ellis are the front-runners, with true freshmen walk-ons Keith Duncan and Caleb Shudak in development.


The public has had one glimpse out of camp. Recinos and Ellis went 6 of 8. Recinos missed his first two attempts during the Aug. 13 open scrimmage; Ellis missed his last two. Leg strength maybe favors Recinos, but we don’t know who’s been more consistent. Slight edge to Recinos because of the last two field goals into the wind and the fact that he was the backup last season.

Punter is an unknown. Iowa didn’t show that during the open scrimmage. Early indications, thoughts from assistant coach Chris White and head coach Kirk Ferentz, seem to favor senior Ron Coluzzi, who, according to coaches, has been more consistent than redshirt freshman Colten Rastetter.

Still, there’s a long way before decisions are made and both could drag into the regular season.


Both punter candidates were asked about their ideal hang time. Coluzzi said 4.7 seconds is his standard. Rastetter said he’s set a range from 4.2 to 4.8 and plans to reset that when he improves.

Also, Rastetter, a walk-on from Clayton Ridge High School, said he worked with former Iowa punter Jason Baker, who spent 11 seasons in the NFL, to set his hang time numbers.

“I wanted to have a window to get into and consider that a good punt,” Rastetter said. “The next step is 4.4 to 4.9.”


You want to say it’s a little thing, but kickoff is a big deal. It’s field position on a silver platter, and the Hawkeyes cashed that in during Marshall Koehn’s two seasons as kicker.

Koehn finished second in the Big Ten last season with 47 of his 81 kickoffs going into the end zone for a touchback (leaving the opponent with a starting field position of its 25-yard line). Koehn finished second in 2014 with 43 touchbacks.


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In his two seasons as Central Michigan’s kickoff specialist (2014-15), Coluzzi collected 21 and 24 touchbacks on 60 and 64 kickoffs, respectively.

“He’ll certainly be a candidate for that,” Ferentz said.

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