Kirk Ferentz’ 2019 Iowa football squad will be facing some tough wide receivers this season. Who are the top 3 the Hawkeyes will see?
In 2018, the Iowa football’s passing defense was ranked 17th in the country. They took a big hit with Amani Hooker and Jake Gervase heading to the NFL. Hooker was drafted in the 4th round by the Tennessee Titans and Gervase was signed by the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted free agent.
If the Hawkeyes have any aspirations of playing for the Big Ten title this season, they’ll need to be excellent in the defensive secondary again. Thankfully, Geno Stone looks like a potential Jim Thorpe award winner after starting in 8 games last season and saw action in every game. He recorded 4 interceptions, 3 pass deflections, and 39 total tackles last season.
In addition to Stone, Iowa will be leaning on senior corner Michael Ojemudia and junior corner Matt Hankins to be stout while sophomore Kaevon Merriweather gets acclimated as the starting safety this season. Let’s check in on the three best wide receivers the Iowa secondary will need to focus on.
3. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Michigan
“DPJ” as he likes to be called was a really productive wide receiver for the Wolverines, especially with transfer quarterback Shea Patterson. As a sophomore Peoples-Jones hauled in 47 catches for 612 yards and 8 touchdowns. The five-star recruit was the best prospect in the state of Michigan and the best receiver in the nation according to 247 sports.
He’s lived up the expectations thus far and doesn’t drop many passes with PFF indicating just a 2.1 percent drop rate. Iowa will get a good look at Peoples-Jones in Week 5 of the season and in Ann Arbor to boot.
2. Tyler Johnson, Minnesota
The senior from Minneapolis was recruited as a dual-threat quarterback but has thrived as a full-time receiver. You see it all the time. Guys like Marvin McNutt and Terrelle Pryor were both quarterbacks but a change of position lead to their sustainability in their respective leagues. And it has been no different for Johnson.
He’s back for his “last ride” on a loaded Gopher wide receiver corps. He will try to top his 78 reception, 1,169 yards and 12 touchdown season from a year ago. Johnson had himself a game against Iowa in 2018, hauling in 6 receptions for 107 yards (17.8 ypc) and a touchdown.
1. Rondale Moore, Purdue
The reigning freshman of the year burst onto the scene for the Boilermakers in the opener against Northwestern hauling in 11 receptions for 109 yards to go along with 2 rushing attempts for 79 yards. His presence on the field changed the dynamic of Jeff Brohm‘s offense but Iowa did a nice job of containing him last season.
Moore had just 31 receiving yards in the last-second victory over the Hawkeyes last season but he should be a force once again this season. He’ll attempt to top his 1,258 receiving yard and 213 rushing yard season, this time in Iowa City. Not only is he one of the best wide receivers the Iowa football team will face, but he is one of the best overall players.