116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
THE DEPTH CHART
1. Connor Kornbrath, jr., 6-6, 240; OR Dillon Kidd, jr., 6-2, 230
1. Marshall Koehn, jr., 6-0, 195 OR Mick Ellis, true fr., 5-10, 180 OR Miguel Recinos, true fr., 6-1, 173
1. Tyler Kluever, fr., 6-0, 220; 2. Zach Johnson, fr., 6-3, 245
1. Kevonte Martin-Manley, sr., 6-0, 205; 2. Desmond King, so., 5-11, 190; OR Derrick Mitchell Jr., fr., 6-1, 205; OR Riley McCarron, so., 5-9, 185
1. Jordan Canzeri, jr., 5-9, 192; 2. TBD
Kevonte Martin-Manley earned plenty of accolades after returning a pair of punts for touchdowns against Western Michigan last year. He became the first Big Ten player since 1983 with two punt returns scores in the same game. His 184 return yards was the second-most in school and conference history behind Iowa Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick (201) in 1939.
But Martin-Manley also had a muffed punt in the Outback Bowl that led to a short-field LSU touchdown in a 21-14 loss. Although his 15.7 yard-per-return average ranked eighth nationally, Martin-Manley averaged just 7.2 yards on his other 18 returns.
'We certainly thought Kevonte did an outstanding job for us,” Iowa special teams/running backs coach Chris White said. 'The thing that's concerning is there was a couple of balls that he should have caught that were turnovers. That is still open. He is clearly one (at the return spot), but we are going to push him because we can't have a ball on the ground. We just can't. It's inexcusable.”
Three other players have emerged as contenders at punt returner: sophomore wide receiver Riley McCarron, sophomore cornerback Desmond King and red-shirt freshman wide receiver Derrick Mitchell.
THE OTHER GUY
Junior Marshall Koehn bided his time behind former kicker Mike Meyer, and now the Solon native has his shot as Iowa's place-kicker. Koehn converted one extra point and kicked off once in last year's 59-3 blowout of Western Michigan. He had an all-state career at Solon, where he converted on 13 field goals as a senior, including a long of 48 yards.
'I've been trying to work on (fundamentals),” Koehn said. '(Former Iowa and NFL kicker) Nate Kaeding always says have a routine that you can fall back on. Just keeping a routine is a big thing in kicking.”
Koehn does have significant competition this camp. Freshman Mick Ellis was a second-team all-state kicker from Texas. He converted on field goals of 53, 52 and 49 yards as a senior and had 34 touchbacks. Walk-on kicker Miguel Recinos of Mason City, drilled a 58-yard field goal last year and was 10-of-16 on field-goal attempts. He hit 18-of-20 extra-point attempts and had 34 touchbacks in 38 kickoffs.
Still, it's Koehn's job to lose.
'The other two are learning,” White said. 'Marshall will get the first kicks but it's going to rotate every day. They'll get the same amount of kicks, exactly the same amount of kicks until we figure it out, until we're comfortable with one of them.”
THE NEW GUYS
Iowa will have a new long snapper as well this year. Red-shirt freshman Tyler Kluver takes over for Casey Kreiter, a dependable option for Iowa the last three seasons. Kluver was a preferred walk-on who joined the team in 2013 after a solid career at Marshalltown.
Backing up Kluver is walk-on freshman Zach Johnson from Minnetonka, Minn.
'We're expecting a lot from (Kluver),” White said.
Iowa has plenty of options at kick returner, where Jordan Canzeri is likely to man one position. Canzeri returned three kicks last year opposite Jordan Cotton, who graduated.
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